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梧桐雨… November 5, 2007

Posted by TSAI HONG-BIN in Music.
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我去看的是 11/4 禮拜天下午的場,本來是寶貝說想聽聽看從美國紅回台灣的華語歌劇,加上陳美玲、羅明芳都在台上。結果她因病倒在家休息,我自個兒來開眼界。

按文化中心的介紹,這齣講述唐明皇馬嵬坡前賜死楊貴妃的「梧桐雨」,是旅美作曲家陳玫琪的作品,而且在 MET 得獎。其實這句話背後的意思就是,在古典音樂傳統結構被狠狠的敲碎的年代,在測試世人面對時尚(前衛?)文化勇氣最高的聖地,這歌劇鐵定超超超超現代…。事實也是如此,聽完整齣歌劇的下一秒鐘,我完全不記得聽到什麼旋律。這對我來說真是莫大的打擊,畢竟學了那麼多年的小提琴,雖非本科,我對音感仍有一定的自信。但這梧桐雨聽完跟沒聽過差不多,完全記不得聽到什麼,錯落的高低音,突起突現的尖銳聲響,完全超越我能理解的線條。唯一還有印象的,只剩京劇裡口白段落間的那一聲鑼「啌~」。果不其然…繼上上禮拜台灣新銳作曲家作品發表之後,我又再次被打敗了。真要問我聽出什麼來,只能摸摸頭,摸摸鼻子回答: nice try… nice try…。或許應該多問問幾個作曲組的,對於現代樂派來說,到底是音效重要,還是音樂重要。

樂團編制加入一些中國樂器,製造濃厚的中國風格,但國樂器的曲調非常的搶耳,和樂團…也不能說格格不入,只能說聽起來很像感情不合的情侶。另外一個很有趣的現象是,很多打中國旗的現代樂派,都要摻進南管風,就是尾音會重複彈幾下那種…。

舞台質感很好,走簡約唐風設計,服裝也很棒,雖少了金金亮亮的奢華感(被滿城盡帶bra甲催眠了?),卻貴氣不減,女生的服飾超飄逸的,剪裁合身,尤其舞者的動作真的漂亮,讓人直盯著瞧。才發現NSO不知從何開始,每場歌劇都弄幾個專業舞者上台,增添了歌劇的可看性,不過也突顯了聲樂家肢體笨拙。男生的服裝大概是跟哪個劇組借的,文官文官的服(楊國忠),武官武官的服(陳玄禮),胡人胡人的服(安祿山),太監太監的服(高力士),小生?小生?怎麼跑出京戲的角?唐美雲演的李白一身歌仔戲小生的裝扮,實在有點和「滿朝文武」不合腔,總覺得當個翰林不是應該有頂官帽…當是我才疏學淺吧。

舞台上擺了幾個聲樂家,穿插了一個京戲名角劉復學,一個歌仔戲名小生唐美雲,是創舉,也是挑戰。好壞留給觀眾心證,我只想說,從小進戲班苦練數十載工夫的師傅,跟一路念高中大學研究所的聲樂家,排排站在舞台上,就是那戲班師傅好看。舉手投足,一靜一動都有架勢有樣子,走台步不多一步不少一步,揮手甩扇都精準的定位。反觀羅、陳、方等聲樂家…只能心裡暗叫「不好!」,也難下什麼註腳。畢竟學 bel canto 的人,很少學戲的,又有學戲的,很少是從小就苦練。雖說歌劇(在過去)並不講求舞台上的肢體動作,隨時代演進,已演變成要會唱又會演,甚至又會跳。(讓我想起去年羅明芳在風流寡婦裡苦跳大腿舞的模樣)…看來該把寶貝丟去學學戲、學學舞,增加一點競爭力。

說完舞台說觀眾吧,不知道是不是對於鄉土的支持,唐美雲一出來就獲得觀眾的大聲歡呼。阿這齣戲的主角不是應該是唐明皇和楊貴妃嗎…?阿這齣歌劇的要角不是唱美聲唱法的嗎…?當然唐美雲已經是名角了,唱的好,吟詩吟的入木入神,那是不用多說的。也就是這樣一位深植台灣人心的歌仔戲大師,居然在國家戲劇院這發表國際性的華語歌劇作品時,反客為主的接受了觀眾諾大的鼓掌歡呼聲。不知道是不是民族意識作祟呢?

最後留幾個小 note:

1. 陳珮琪老師個性比較率直是大家都知道,不過穿一身飄逸的服裝,和陳美玲老師站在一起…任何一舉一動都變得很「男性化」…害我噗喫…

2. 羅明芳老師…唱大廳還是吃力…快~吃胖一點

3. 日本人唱中文很辛苦我知道,所以也不怪他們,總之,「此」念成「つ」,「何」念成「ほ」也是在料想當中啦。其實聽的出是在唱中文應該已經很值得鼓勵了。

4. 為什麼中間有一段唱法文???不懂 Orz …

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Connie on Britain’s got talent June 15, 2007

Posted by TSAI HONG-BIN in Music.
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Another incredible singer. This cute girl.. she is really cute especially without incisors. [Over the rainbow] is a lullaby, and she did sing it tranquilly. Though the breathing is wrong (should not take breathe in the middle of a word) and she cannot control her breathing well so the high tune shakes and diminishes, her voice indeed moved the audience. And, it’s totally understandable why Amanda weeps, because, I feel the same way. Haha, after experiencing the chaos around us, she did sound like an angel that comforts people. =)

Paul Potts on Britain’s got talent June 15, 2007

Posted by TSAI HONG-BIN in Music.
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If he never goes to vocal classes, then he must be born opera singer. Nessun Dorma is a huge piece for all Tenors, I can hardly believe that he just sang it so naturally like he’s not putting much effort to “work on” the sound. Even a professional tenor needs to take years of practice to make it.

However, frankly speaking, his singing is good for that he’s no pros. His sustainment is shaky, and the space for is not vertical enough. But what I really appreciate is the sentiments in his voices. Though people sing Puccini’s work sentimentally all the time, but it’s pretty difficult to take care the “shaping your voice” and “shaping your emotions” at the same time. I mean, this guy must got moved by this song, and so it moves me. =)

Renee Fleming and Evergreen Sym. Orch. March 27, 2007

Posted by TSAI HONG-BIN in Music.
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It was March 24. The world-famous soprano, Renee Fleming, was having a concert in National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan. We know Fleming by her “extremely expressive” voice and “dramatical” ways of “shaping her sound”. It’s quite difficult to be judgmental, some appreciate, others don’t, that’s how we treat art – by personal tastes.

We all looked forward to the concert, until we saw the programme. “NUTS!” the very first reaction, by me, when seeing her repertoire. 7 songs. ya, she sings only 7 songs in a 2 hours long concert! What’s worse! the last two are “O Mio Babbino Caro” (from Gianni Schicchi) and “Vissi D’arte” (from Tosca). Rest of the concert is made up by Evergreen Sym. Orch.. I won’t say those two are easy pieces, but they’re definitely not challenging ones, especially for a “world’s greatest soprano”. Gosh, I paid $2400 for this? what a robbery…

In the first part, she sang Strauss’ “four last songs.” It was … definitely NOT OK!!!! I don’t care it’s Fleming’s problem or the conductor should bear the responsibility. I can hear only vowels louder than mezzo forte!! All of the four songs!! Where are piano lines?? where are consonants?? Ma’am! it’s German! it’s Deutsch, you are supposed to pronounce a clear and sustaining “-tsch,” instead of a long, beautiful and full “-eu-” with disappearing “-tsch.” I know they are tranquil songs, but tranquility is by no means silence, mute. Charles Huang gave a good reason that the orchestra was making too much noise that covered Fleming’s singing, but not good enough, because after what had done had done, reasons are merely excuses (http://hcharles.blogspot.com/2007/03/blog-post_9040.html). Besides, there are out-of-controlled audience. Some people just can’t wait till the rest. They kept clapping at each stop of the four songs. Just awkward.

The second part, Fleming did a great job in “Bel raggio lusinghier” (from Semiramide) (finally). Her coloratura was running smoothly, accurately and brightly. I was pretty satisfied with this song, and the “Overture of Romeo and Juliet” after that. Obviously these two songs were my favorites, and unfortunately only these two were pleasing, in that concert. The conductor 王雅惠 had really beautiful and expressive gestures while conducting. She was able to give exact, clear, powerful cue for percussion, but in the opposite, a smooth, soft, tender waves for strings. Her conducting is already an art.

What happened afterward was so …hackneyed… I don’t even want to remember. “Somewhere over the rainbow?” “Summertime?” Oh my god, 徐以琳 is doing so much better than her. Undoubtedly Fleming got skills, but by singing “somewhere..” and “summertime” she just got too much show-off. Well, at least, in my opinion, songs have no way to be naturally beautiful. It is the lyrics, melody, and acting and singing of the singer and the accompanist, all above appropriately mixed together that makes a song beautiful. In other words, if the singer expresses himself/herself too much in a song, the song will lose its focus and become meaningless. That how I felt at the end of that day, Renee Fleming’s concert in Taipei, Taiwan.

In my experience of going to soprano concerts in Taipei, Sumi Jo is the best. Her coloratura is just so magic, like angel, naturally flowed from her throat like she was born and nurtured by a nightingale. Especially when she encored ” Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille,” just lovely! Bravo! Kiwiciao wrote a log (http://kiwiciao.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!FF6ACF2404C56C6D!1046.entry)

Last thing, French horn, go kill yourself!