You know it’s going to be an exciting concert…

…when Maestro Levine breaks his baton during a rehearsal. Not even dress, yet!

I’m back with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, after a few months off, for a series of performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio. The BSO is going all out on this one, with downloadable previews (also available on their podcast, to which, I confess, I do not subscribe)—even an animated Flash ad that cycles through the soloists.

And quite a roster of soloists it is, too: I recognized half of them from the concerts I’ve done with the group over the last few years, including Johan Botha (Valdemar in Gurreleider); Mathew Polenzani (Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni), and Albert Dohmen (the Peasant, also from Gurreleider). Dohmen deserves special mention because his normal speaking voice can rattle window glass, it’s that low and rumbly. Also deserving mention is Christine Brewer, another Gurreleider alum, who is making a habit of last minute subsitutions with the BSO. Here she fills in for Karita Mattila (YAGA, yet another Gurreleider alum), who withdrew this week due to illness.

All of this wouldn’t matter if the music weren’t so sublime. I am, despite the catholicity of my tastes, not normally an opera fan. But the music in Fidelio is spectacular—er, at least the part we’ve heard so far, which is limited to the two finales. I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the work at tomorrow night’s dress rehearsal.