Took in Handel’s Messiah last night at the National Arts Centre. A fine show, as always, but everyone left a bit disappointed at the lack of a Stephen Harper cameo. I figured for sure he’d come out and point to himself during the part about people walking in darkness seeing a great light.
I know two things about classical music: jack and squat. So I won’t attempt to review the vocal performances of the four singers. But I will review an equally important aspect of a singer’s repertoire: the facial expressions of feigned interest that he or she makes while not singing.
Ratings are on a scale of one to four protruding tenor bellies (Þ):
Geraldine McGreevy, soprano: Kinda frowny. Kept her eyes angled upward, as though scanning the loges for a hot octogenarian to make it with after the show. Ultimately, this proved distracting. Whenever I looked at her, I felt the urge to turn around to see what she was staring at. Is someone threatening to jump? Is a couple in a private box in the process of joining the 60-Feet-High Club? Rating: ÞÞ.
Marie-Nicole Lemieux, contralto: Classic squinter. Scanned crowd with an amiable expression for much of the time, even smiling on occasion. But an essential element of a singer’s non-singing posture is to at least convey the impression that she is fully engaged in the event. At times, Lemieux looked as though she wished she were elsewhere. It’s hard for me to describe the expression, so just picture how Bob Rae looks these days. Rating: ÞÞ½.
Benjamin Butterfield, tenor: Animated. Lively. Could be seen nodding his head as though approving of the orchestra’s rendering of a critical passage. When not thoroughly caught up in the moment, his default pose featured a slightly turned head and an arched eyebrow. He looked… skeptical. Picture the expression on your father’s face when you came home at 2 a.m. stinking of rum and claimed to have been at the library. Rating:ÞÞÞ.
Kyle Ketelsen, baritone: Very disciplined. Kept hands folded on left knee for 90% of his time in the chair. Stared ahead without so much as a hint of emotion or expression. Frankly, his behaviour reminded me very much of most of my dates in high school, so I’m going to have to deduct him one-half of a protruding tenor belly for that. Rating: ÞÞÞ½.