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#1617 - 05/09/10 12:55 PM Re: Opera 2
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Something in the last post has been ringing a bell, and I've finally realized what it is: it's the bad novel. I'm pretty sure it's one I read, eons ago. Is the Otello a young black tenor who many feel doesn't have the seasoning to sing the role? Something about his "Esultate!" -- it either reassures the doubters or confirms their fears, probably the former. Only two other things I remember from the book. One is the album cover. Black Otello and white Desdemona, stripped to the waist, with their arms around each other. His face and her back on one side of the cover, her face and his back on the other. That's an image that stays with you. The other thing is the record executive in the story makes a stab at healthy eating, like fish for lunch instead of steak. Odd thing to remember.

Jon, are you sure Aria is the right title? Amazon doesn't know it and Google can't find it.

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#1618 - 05/09/10 04:43 PM Re: Opera 2
Anonymous
Unregistered


Us librarians are good at this sort of thing. The title is indeed Aria and the author is someone with the rather peculiar name of Brown Meggs. Lots of copies are available at AbeBooks - http://www.abebooks.com/9780689108327/Aria-Meggs-Brown-068910832X/plp .

More on the author at http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0760974.html .

[This message has been edited by Andrew (edited 05-09-2010).]

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#1619 - 05/10/10 07:21 PM Re: Opera 2
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
So Meggs is the guy who introduced the US to the Beatles. ABE has eight copies of Aria, five of which are priced at $1. Not that I'm recommending it even at that rock-bottom price.

Thank you, Mr. Librarian.

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#1620 - 05/13/10 04:34 PM Re: Opera 2
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
Summer reruns in the big screen opera: Summer HD Encores
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#1621 - 05/13/10 04:41 PM Re: Opera 2
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
Woe is me: I just checked the participating theaters and NONE are in my area, as usual. Two in Northern Virginia, one in Charlotte and two in Raleigh. ForTurandot, I might just consider doing an overnight in Raleigh if I can find someone else who wants to go.
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#1622 - 05/14/10 07:56 PM Re: Opera 2
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Oh, that's a shame, Kay. I'm in luck; my usual theater is showing them. I'm thinking of two from the first season I missed, Eugene Onegin and Roméo et Juliette, and I'll probably go see Carmen again.

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#1623 - 05/15/10 02:09 PM Re: Opera 2
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
Had an interesting chat last night with a friend who plays viola for both our opera and our symphony...He's never seen a staged opera except in Roanoke...but he has played in a LOT of regional orchestras. He says, as others have, that we should keep an eye on Opera Roanoke's Steven White (who debuted on the podium at the Met last month)...he's headed for big time. I have mixed feelings about that. I want the best for Steven but I really would hate to see us lose him completely.

[This message has been edited by Kay (edited 05-15-2010).]
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#1624 - 06/25/10 09:44 PM Re: Opera 2
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
I went to the Encore simulcast of Roméo et Juliette Wednesday night. I'd seen the opera performed only once, a long time ago...I was still in high school. But I fell in love with "Je veux vivre", absolutely flipped over it. Back then you could still buy 10" vinyl records of single arias, and there were a number available, as the aria was a fairly popular concert piece at that time. So I bought the one recorded by Bidú Sayao, checked the libretto out of the library, and memorized the words. (Yes, my schoolmates all looked at me funny when I tried to talk about it.) And you know, I still remember most of those words. Anyway, it was a special pleasure for me to hear the aria again as a part of a larger whole instead of isolated from its context.

The minor singers in this production were forgettable, but then so are their roles. There are only two voices that matter in this opera, and Netrebko and Alagna certainly delivered. They sounded so good, both singly and together. All the nuances Netrebko put into her singing...she certainly doesn't look upon R&J as a second-rate opera. And I don't think Alagno knows how to sleepwalk through a role.

The set was scaled-down Renaissance with one prominent, deliberate anachronism: the sky. The backdrop projections were enlargements of modern astronomical photographs -- the sun shooting out solar flares, a couple of nebulas, the surface of the moon, and what looked like a red dwarf burning off its surface gases. The sky was always visible...through an open window, through an archway in town, etc. It was all preparation for R&J's one night of love. Their bed was a platform suspended halfway down from the ceiling, against a backdrop of a starfield. They truly looked as if they were floating among the stars. A wonderful illusion. The platform was slowly lowered during the duet to rest on another platform, with steps, so they could get out of bed and get on with the opera.

Only later did I get to thinking how dangerous that must have been. Their platform bed had no guard rails to keep them from falling off. That platform must have weighed a ton, because it was completely stable; it had to be, with all the thrashing, groping, entwining, and, oh yes, singing going on. This R&J pair did not make love quietly. But the platform never tilted or even wobbled. The cables holding it were visible in the close-up shots, but they didn't look nearly thick enough to support so great a weight. As an indication of how well the device worked, I didn't think of any of this during the performance. Only the next day did I get to wondering.

Odds & ends:

1. The orchestra members were dressed as usual, men in tuxes and women in black, but the conductor (Domingo) was wearing a brown jacket, striped tie, and a beige sweater-vest.

2. They cut the epilogue, thank goodness.

3. The friend I went with discovered the Encore simulcast was repeated at 10 a.m. the following day. There's no indication at the Met site of a second showing, nor was it listed on the theater's web page schedule of shows and times. It was listed in the newspaper (Sacramento Bee), but the guy who answers the phone at the theater doesn't know whether the rest of the summer simulcasts will be repeated or not.

4. My friend and I are agreed that Roberto Alagno is one sexy tenor.

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#1625 - 06/26/10 06:33 AM Re: Opera 2
Anonymous
Unregistered


You can see quite a lot of him on Youtube... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hObQanDkXVg&feature=related

I saw Roméo et Juliette, which I mostly didn't know at all, for the first time a couple of years ago - Opera North were doing a Shakespeare season - Falstaff and A Midsummer Night's Dream as well, and later in the year there was Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi.

One thing that really struck me about the opera was that "Je veux vivre" stuck out like a sore thumb - there's no music remotely like it in the rest of the opera. Apparently Gounod added it at a late stage because the soprano wasn't capable of singing the more dramatic aria in Act 4.

The Opera North team actually debated leaving "Je veux vivre" out! I suspect the audience would have rioted if they had done so.

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#1626 - 06/26/10 11:32 AM Re: Opera 2
Christopher Offline
Member

Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
Ha, and rightly so. That's how I always thought of it, as a one-aria opera.

Barbara, please stop posting reviews of simulcasts I didn't go to. I've got bruises all over my body from kicking myself.

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