By now, most Pink Flamingo readers know that I have several weaknesses. They include homeless kittens I find in my carport (thereby rendering them no longer homeless), shoes, Wyatt Earp, shoes, salsa, shoes, baritones, shoes, opera, shoes, a well pitched game of baseball, shoes, The Marx Brothers, shoes, Louis Vuitton, shoes, Sherrill Milnes, shoes, handbags, shoes, Star Trek, shoes, politics, shoes, Cary Grant, shoes, James Bond, shoes, Captain James T. Kirk, shoes, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, shoes, Finding Bigfoot, shoes, River Monsters, shoes, Simon Keenlyside’s Don Giovanni, shoes, Wagner played very loud, shoes, astronauts, shoes, the Wild West, shoes, and barihunks!
Wait, did I mention shoes?
I also have a weakness for things that are satirical and funny. My idea of a meaningful movie is watching Harpo Marx wading in the lemonade vendor’s tank of lemonade. Until watching Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s di Luna, I could not watch or listen to Trovatore without dealing with post traumatic stress over A Night at the Opera. I still can’t listen to the overture because of this one single scene.
I once saw a production of Trovatore at the Met, where I swear, the Marx Brothers would have been an improvement. Then again I was totally pissed because the single worst baritone the world has ever known (his name will not be mentioned because I don’t want to taint my blog) was pinch hitting for Sherrill Milnes. I kept hoping Harpo would come down and kidnap him, put him in a basket, and suspend him over the stage! I kept hoping to see Harpo pop out and harass the truly horrendous dancers on stage. It is also proof that not all baritones should be allowed to open their mouths on state.
When one can include several of my favorite things, barihunks, humor, and political satire, wow! It rarely happens. Thanks to Canadian barihunk Jonathan Estabrooks, we have a merger of the sublime to the hilarious. The only thing he doesn’t have in The Most Wonderful Memes of the Year – 2012 are the Marx Brothers!
It should be noted that Esterbrooks is Mr. July in the 2013. Yes, it is at this point where The Pink Flamingo must insert a screen shot of said pin-up photo! I should also mention that I’ve purchased a copy of the 2013 Barihunks Calender. It is for a good cause. (Yes, it’s a good excuse).
Back to the serious. One of the ways The Pink Flamingo likes to judge an opera singer is how they can do cross-over. There are very few who are successful at it: Sherrill Milnes, Placido Domingo, Beverly Sills (I still mourn her passing), the great Luciano, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Erwin Schrott. I think we need to add Esterbrooks to this august list.
Let’s face it, The Pink Flamingo is impressed. Two thumbs up! Let’s also be honest here. The only reason the world needs tenors, sopranos and mezzos is to listen to them, occasionally, to remind us why we prefer a steady diet of baritones! The late, very great Beverly Sills (one of the exceptions to this rule) once said that in opera there were the tenors and the men (baritones).
For those who are interested, my calico cat, Miss Beverly Sills – AKA – Bubbles – appears to like Traviata. I am a little disappointed in the fact that she seems to prefer the tenor-soprano duets, though.