A Barihunk Feast


We all need a change of pace, and some beauty, moments of perfect beauty.  The Pink Flamingo doesn’t know of a better way to provide moments of pure beauty and peace that via vocal perfection.

Once upon a time, in another life, The Pink Flamingo had second row, left season tickets at the Met. You could fly from GSP to LGA for a hundred bucks, each way, if you bought the tickets in time, which I did.  For years, I had incredible seats (usually front row) for the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala.  In the early days it was at Carnegie Hall.  It was a personal, intimate setting, where Sherrill Milnes would look down and wave, nod, during his usual ovation.  It was more like a small, personal recital by the finest voices in the world, just for the fortunate few who were there to see it, and it wasn’t always sold out.

There was one year where I managed to get to see Leonard Bernstein conduct!  Afterward, in the usual autograph line, he came through, just visiting with people.  He visited with me!  Just think – Leonard Bernstein!

That was the way it was.  Personal and intimate, with the finest musical talent in the world, right there, visiting with the likes of The Pink Flamingo!

Then, things changed, I opened a business, then moved to New Mexico.  I remember my mother coming back from a gala, in the early 90s, telling me about the incredible young Russian baritone she had heard! I don’t pay much attention to her because no one could possibly take the place of Sherrill Milnes. I was wrong!  He hasn’t taken the place of Sherrill Milnes, no one ever will, but he has become one of the finest baritones in history, right up there, in lights with Milnes and Leonard Warren!

Watch 2012 Richard Tucker Opera Gala on PBS. See more from pbs.

The best part of the night was a duet between Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Olga Borodina!

Watch Olga Borodina & Dmitri Hvorostovsky sing “The Tsar’s Bride” on PBS. See more from pbs.

Or, try Erwin Schrott, arguably opera’s greatest base-baritone.

Watch Erwin Schrott performs “Rojo Tango” on PBS. See more from pbs.

The 2012 winner, Ailyn Perez is a true diva, in the classical sense of the word.  It is going to be quite exciting to watch she and her husband, tenor Stephen Costello as their careers began to soar.  I think, one day, Costello will become the definitive Alfredo.

“…The complete list of singers appearing on the gala program includes Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov, who sings the title roles in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni this season at the Metropolitan Opera; mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, a 2012 Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient; Russian mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina, who plays Amneris in the Met’s revival of Aida; tenor Stephen Costello, the 2009 Richard Tucker Award-winner and husband of Pérez; Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught, in her American debut; Canadian baritone Gerald Finley, who recently sang Count Almaviva opposite Abdrazakov’s Figaro; Italian tenor Marcello Giordani, who portrayed Calàf in the Met’s Turandot this season; Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who stars in the Met’s new production of Un ballo in maschera and later in its revival of Don Carlo; baritone Quinn Kelsey, a 2006 Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient and 2004 Sara Tucker Study Grant winner; Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska, who made her Met debut in title role opposite Borodina in Aida; and Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott, who at the Met this season sings Leporello to Abdrazakov’s Don Giovanni and Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore opposite his real-life partner, Anna Netrebko…”

This afternoon, Great Performances at the Met is doing a rerun of last season’s Traviata.  I am not a Traviata fan.  The new production was almost enough to turn me into one.  Then, again, it simply could have been Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s Germont.  And, yes, his Germont is even better than Milnes.  I know, I may be struck by lightening for such an admission, but I calls ’em as I sees ’em.

Damn!  I love opera!


2 thoughts on “A Barihunk Feast

  1. Good stuff! I find good music and art (and getting outside, even in this bad weather, to be the perfect solace for all that ails). Saw what very much appeared to be a bald eagle yesterday; wouldn’t have believed it if my husband and son hadn’t been there and thought the same thing (very large, black/brown bird with white head, flying like a hawk not a turkey buzzard which have mostly gone south from here by now…baldy is all I can think of that matches that). That was really cool.

    Dmitri as Germont would be dreamy…I’d love to cop a listen to that.
    Oh, and lucky…pfffft! ;)

    Oh, and here’s a little something my husband found — not opera, but it is beautiful (music is an important component in my house; my husband has a beautiful voice, so did my father and his brother, so did my mom’s sister, and both my grandmothers…alas, it has so far not been passed on :( but at least it is appreciated, and if you can’t sing, you can play an instrument):

    Reminds me of something that could have come out of my grandparent’s house (either side), if they were Finnish (but the spontaneous group singing did happen and it was wonderful, and the whole sound of it reminds me of my maternal grandma and her sisters — this sound reminds me a lot like what they would get up to at family gatherings…now you know why I like family gatherings!).

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