I hope you’ll forgive me, but I’m going to copycat another blogger, here. These two videos came to me in a roundabout fashion. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy publicized this link to a blog run by Andy Ihnatko on his Twitter account which described two YouTube videos of the same opera song.
I know, opera, right?
But listen to these two videos, in order. And listen to them all the way through. They compliment each other, and the end result will leave you gobsmacked.
I’ll leave Andy to explain the setup.
…mainstream opera audiences wanted to be thrilled and excited. Witness “The Doll’s Song,” which is the coloratura equivalent of giant transforming robots throwing each other into skyscrapers. It’s designed to push a performer almost to the limits of what a voice can do. When this aria comes up, even modern audiences lean forward in their seats a little. They know they’re going to see something spectacular.
In this first video, Olympia is sung with vim, precision, charm, and humor by principal performer Kathleen Kim.
Good, huh? But there’s more. Andy describes the events which lead to this video, where the same aria is sung by Kathleen Kim’s stand-in.
keep in mind that as impressive as this performance was, it was all in a day’s work for Kathleen Kim. She would do it again and again and again throughout the show’s run.
So. One night, Kim got sick and Rachele Gilmore was forced to make her Met stage debut on just three hours’ notice.
This second video is an example of what happens when a highly technical role is performed by someone who knows that (a) this is a huge professional moment, (b) this is an aria in which the singer is actually supposed to showboat during the reprise, and (c) she doesn’t necessarily need to protect her voice for the next two weeks of performances.
Wow. I’m mostly here to share the video. Read more at Andy’s site.