Figaro's Wedding for your Friday
November 9, 2018 6:30 AM   Subscribe

Two great singers bring their eyebrows A-game: First a young Bryn Terfel in 1989 singing Non piu andrai from Figaro's Wedding and then a slightly more contemporary Cecilia Bartoli rendering Voi che sapete in 1998.
posted by Harald74 (11 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
When I was a literal baby (21ish), I had the great fortune of spending a summer in the Tanglewood young artist program, working with the legendary Phyllis Curtin. In one memorable session, Ms. Curtin stood in front of me and held my eyebrows in place while I sang.

So much of classical singing is about manipulating the spaces and planes inside your head without really being able to feel what you are doing. It is not uncommon for a young singer, trying to keep his or her soft palette raised, to sympathetically adopt a perpetually shocked expression.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:56 AM on November 9, 2018 [8 favorites]

Le mie sopracciglia emote con passione e fuoco!
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:03 AM on November 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was leaning towards giving the nod to Bartoli eyebrowing better, but Terfel nailed the final brow movement ekeing out the narrow win. Both were at the top of their game though, so no fault on Bartoli for her quality expressiveness. Oh, and their singing was nifty too. A good high brow art post like this was a excellent way to end my day. Thanks for the post.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:04 AM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

Terfel has always had good eyebrow game.

Good Lord, he was young. Looks vaguely like young Kenneth Branagh.
posted by praemunire at 7:21 AM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

They were scheduled to perform together back in the 90s. We had tickets. She had a cold.

Still, glass half full. She's still on the bucket list.
posted by BWA at 8:17 AM on November 9, 2018

I would crawl naked through broken glass to hear Cecilia Bartoli perform live. I was lucky enough to see her perform as the lead in a Seattle Opera production of Rossini's La Cenerentola back in the mid-90's (? ish? maybe a bit later), and the entire evening was absolutely transcendent.
posted by dbmcd at 8:47 AM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

I would crawl naked through broken glass to hear Cecilia Bartoli perform live.

Wouldn't it be easier to just buy a ticket?
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:59 AM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

Wasn't Bartoli the reason why a lot of Opera Houses mounted some of the more obscure Opera's of Rossini (Cenerentola, La Gazza Ladra and the like)? I heard Rossini wrote a lot of Mezzo roles for his favorite singer, who was a Mezzo.

It is not easy to have a superstar Mezzo who can sell out the house. Recently I can only think of Denyce Graves other than Cecilia.

Eyebrows: I think Bryn has an unfair advantage as he is portraying a Sarcastic Figaro. It is easier to do the eyebrow thing naturally for that. Cecilia OTOH is doing it in a Romatic Aria. So ... Cecilia is the winner.
posted by indianbadger1 at 9:49 AM on November 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

A recording of their performance together at the Met in 1998 is now available on demand, BWA.
posted by praemunire at 10:27 AM on November 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am there, thank you!
posted by BWA at 4:19 PM on November 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

They released an album together in 1999, and it's on Spotify.
posted by Harald74 at 10:16 PM on November 9, 2018

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