Swept by the idyllic Salzburg walks, and blinded by the chance to go shopping at her favorite food store in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Opera Chic missed the chance of going to Barbara Frittoli's recital at la Scala tonight: thankfully, we had various friends at the theater (none of them, sadly, for various reasons, with Opera Chic's ninja skills for surreptitious picture-taking, so no images tonite sorrie!).
One of our friends just explained to us that after the first part was received very warmly (Schubert and Verdi, duh), the second part of the recital was accompanied by polite applause and a faint feeling of okokhuhuyawnkaynext! boredom in the audience.
The "bis" -- Vissi d'arte and Io sono l'umile ancella, not the most subversive choice of encores -- obviously brought the house down, with wild cheering and standing ovations.
The problem is of course that the second part was made of EIGHT songs by Henri Duparc -- basically half of the entire production of one of classical music's most outstanding -- and most forgotten -- geniuses.
A friend -- a kicka$$ lady of the Milanese old skool who attended the event with a similarly old skool buddy, a lady whose début here in the palchi happened when Maria Callas was on stage, not the otherwise excellent Frittoli -- pointed out: "Che gente alla Scala!", they're only happy with the big crowd-pleaser arias and prone to diffidence and even utter boredom when something less well-known is being performed.
Poor maestro Sinopoli had the same problem: every time he added, say, Zemlinsky to his programs, Opera Chic is told that people here would go all huffy, waiting for their beloved works they had already heard dozens of times.
This terrible habit of a nice chunk of la Scala's audience hasn't been broken during the Muti years -- operagoing and concertgoing as social event, light entertainment that must not interfere with one's comfort zone. And considering that Lissner's choice for this year's la prima was Frengo's Aida xtravanganza spectacular we doubt that the solution is around the corner. It's just, to quote Schopenhauer, lame.
And now if you'll excuse us, we need to pump up the volume, Bidu Sayao's version of Duparc's Chanson Triste is coming up on the vintage McIntosh sound system. Again and forever, merci Henri.