Saturday, March 21, 2009

Music Under the Stairs

Most kinds of music are terrific, and the joint was jumping in the subway station under Union Square just now as a brass jazz combo brought a lot of smiles and cellphone cameras out on this pleasant second-day-of-spring Saturday. It presented a particular contrast for me, as a friend and I were just coming home from one of the terrific Metropolitan Opera HD live telecasts at the Regal Union Square movie theater. This time it was the controversial Mary Zimmerman production of Bellini's La sonnambula. One may disagree with her concept—a Pirandellian story of a production of the opera overlaid with an intra-cast love story—but today's playing and singing would rival, I daresay, the great interpreters of the past. The incredibly gifted Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez can stand comparison with anyone. Memorable performances from this attractive duo, who have major stage chemistry together. But hearing the enthusiastic jazz musicians afterward, amid the roar of the trains and the travelers, had its own rewards.

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