I guess by now everyone and their mom have seen the Paul Potts audition video on YouTube, where he sings Nessun Dorma. The recent news about Susan Boyle reminded me of something I found rather interesting about Potts.
To paraphrase Michael Stipes, everybody cries.
I've noticed when I talk to people about Potts, they almost invariably say they cried or felt intense emotion when they saw the video. An ad was even made in Germany reflecting this phenomenon (I suppose it can be called that way).
So why? Why the emotion? Is it the fact that the scrawny underdog is hitting it big despite everyone's expectations that he would simply embarrass himself? Is it the music? A combination of the two? Not to take away from Puccini, but I personally prefer Verdi and Wagner, especially Aida and Lohengrin.
Another observation. Any person with at least rudimentary classical bel canto knowledge can tell that while Potts is a decent lyrical tenor, he's far from being even close to people like Fisichella, Sobinov or Pavarotti. Certainly well below the capabilities of, say, Placido Domingo. And yet, when I listen to his CD (yes, I bought it), I am more moved by his rendition of Dorma and Con te partiro than when I hear them from Carreras or Bocelli. It's because his voice sounds a little less controlled and a bit less trained that he's able to inject charm into what he's singing. There is NO CHARM whatsoever in Pavarotti signing Otello. It's just damn good. But it's not charming.
I had never considered opera from a charm perspective certainly (most certainly not Germanic opera), but I suppose Potts can pull that off. On the other hand, I'd need to hear him do La Traviata or maybe a comic opera like Bastien und Bastienne or something like that - not just the odd piece - to really put that concept to the test.
Well. In other news, I'm just plain fucking buried in work. I love it (just love it) when companies feeling the recession think they can let go a quarter of their staff for a given project and still expect to make the same deadlines. It's just fucking insane. Anybody else having that kind of fun out there? I'm taking it pian piano, as the Italians say.
Oh, and an excellent article on the IronPython In Action tome by Foord and Christian Muirhead, which came out recently. Courtesy of Jim Hugunin. Highly recommended if you're using that language at all.
And finally, I'd like to report that my recent migration from CentOS to Debian is going quite well. Having smoke tested everything on my personal stuff, we moved some of our colo boxes to it as well a couple of weeks ago and so far so good. And not completely unrelated to that, I'm seeing some new reqs for Django developers out there. Not many, but a few. Fascinating considering the recession and all. Nothing I'd go for at this point given my workload (and the rates are a little sucky), but every time I see things like that I tend to pat myself on the back for getting into the Python stack and not letting myself depend solely on the Microsoft one. Don't get me wrong, C#/ASP/WCF/MSSQL/Server 2008 is still the breadwinner by far, and I prefer it as a platform, but it's nice to have a handy side air bag sometimes. No PHP though!