Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about GREENTUNA


Today we lost another great musician as Pavarotti passed away after a long battle with cancer. I thought it only appropriate to make this a musical Thursday Thirteen and bring you a wide variety of songs that I personally adore.

1. Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma.
The first time I ever heard this aria I was in Austria at the finals of an Operatic Competition. As the tenor finished, I looked at my friend sitting next to me in the balcony and said, "Damn. If that doesn't make you want to throw your panties on stage right now, I don't know would." Lots of tenors sing this aria. Pavarotti always made it look effortless.

2. Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny singing Wagner.
A classic of epic proportions. It's hard to choose what's better: their love song or his his invocation to have the Gods smite him with Lightning, Thunder, Hurricanes...SMOG! it's almost too good to be true.
Elmer: O Bwoom Hiwda.....You're so Wuuuuuvwy!
Bugs: Oh I know it, I can't help it!!
Elmer: P Bwoom my WUV!

3. Some guy singing "Sweet Dreams" by John Bucchino
Although I don't know who the guy is (he does a decent job) or his accompanist (less than decent but not bad enough to be offensive) but it was the song I was looking for. I absolutely adore songs whose lyrics take you along for a ride and at the very end make their point in a way you'd never expect. One of my all-time favorites.
There is a town in California
Where they put the stars right at your feet
and the people delight in .... stepping on them.

4. Bruce Springsteen singing "Bring 'em Home"
There have been lots of poignant and thought-provoking anti-war songs. From the Dixie Chicks singing "I'm not Ready to Make Nice" to Pink singing "Dear Mr. President," it's nice to see the musical world get involved in saying and singing their feelings about the world today. I especially love Springsteen's retooling of the Vietnam-War era ballad "Bring 'em Home." Just goes to show you that time may evolve, but more often than not people and policies do not.

5. Thomas Hampson singing Figaro
Most people know this from an old (and fabulous) Bugs Bunny cartoon. Well, this isn't Bugs, it's the real deal. A famous, fabulous aria, and by the way -- it's hard as hell to sing.

6. Someone singing Queen of the Night
I don't remember who this is, and I'm too lazy to go look it up again. But anyway, speaking of hard as hell to sing (check it out at about 45 seconds into the clip) if you can hit these dogs notes, you'll have an operatic career, guaranteed. And I have to say, I LOVE her crown. It looks like an enormous metallic standing rib roast. I'd be afraid of her.

7. Jerry Hadley singing "It Must Be So" from Candide
This is an especially poignant video. Leonard Bernstein passed away in 1990 and tenor Jerry Hadley died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound several weeks ago. It's hard to hear the ironically optimistic words of Voltaire set to such achingly poignant and simple music and not wonder why things happen the way they do.
"There is a sweetness in every woe.
It must be so. It must be so."

8. Kiri Te Kanawa singing "O Mio Babbino Caro"
The enormous deep pink killer-poofy-sleeves dress aside, this is one of the most famous soprano arias in the repertoire. Sadly, the character suffers from what I call the "Hodel" syndrome. You get the best song, but then you disappear for the rest of the show. Great tune. Total bummer of a role.

9. Marilyn Horne SINGS
Marilyn Horne. Absolutely amazing Mezzo Soprano. Star of the Met, La Scala, Paris Opera.
What is she doing here? Singing "C is for Cookie" on Sesame Street in full Aida drag. Priceless.

10. Ernie Singing "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon"
This was a favorite song of TeenTuna's back when I was allowed to call her Tiny. I love Ernie. I love this song. And if he doesn't want to live on the moon, then I don't either.

11. GreenTuna Loves Sesame Street a Little Too Much
Yeah! Sesame Street Hat trick! It's a great jazz tune with a bunch of celebrity cameos. Of course, it's a little sad to watch this and realize how many great performers we have lost. Still in all, it's excellent advice wrapped up in a big band sound.
Put down the duckie. Put down the duckie.
Put down the duckie, you gotta leave the duck alone.
Put down the duckie. Put down the duckie.
Put down the duckie if you wanna play the saxophone.

12. Eva Cassidy singing "Over the Rainbow"
Yes, Judy Garland is great. But you will never, ever hear a more heart-felt version than this one. How I wish I could have heard her sing live in concert. What a talent.

13. Today it's all about Pavarotti
Sorry, you have to click through to this one. The loss of Pavarotti was a blow to the musical world, but I'm quite certain he's still singing. Thanks for the music, Luciano.


Nancy J. Bond said...

LOVE Eva Cassidy and it's a very sad day for Pavarotti fans. :(

GreenTuna said...

Oh -- that Queen of the Night video is HYSTERICAL. And dammit, how dare he have high F's when the rest of us only dream. Fortunately, puberty is the great equalizer, and I bet he'll be singing some a little more gender appropriate.

Besides -- The Queen of the Night would NEVER wear Liederhosen. Just doesn't go with the crown, ya know?

Nicholas said...

In 1990, Nessun Dorma was chosen as the theme music for the World Cup and was enormously popular. Tens of thousands of people who had never listened to opera in their lives took it to their hearts.