Page 5 of 6 < 1 2 3 4 5 6 >
Topic Options
#30861 - 02/11/16 08:27 PM Re: Opera 10 [Re: Jon]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Oh, Jon, you do have problems, don't you? Deepest sympathies. (I'm willing to bet a whole dollar that Britten and B&B win.)

Birgit Nilsson was my first Turandot too (but that wasn't my first opera). Turandot seems a curious choice for introducing a 7th-grader to opera. Jon, do you know what your mother's reasoning was for selecting that one?

Top
#30863 - 02/11/16 09:48 PM Re: Opera 10 [Re: Barbara]
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Well, we sort of discussed it together (she also consulted a music teacher she knew -- our choir director), going from the season's schedule. I had a book of "stories from the operas" which had started my interest; as it happens, none of the ones from the book was on the schedule. (At that time -- maybe still -- Chicago did a fall-only season of about 10 operas.) These days, it's easy for me to look up what the choices were:
Carmen
La Cenerentola
Simon Boccanegra
Turandot
Jenufa
Un Ballo in maschera
Così fan tutte
Flying Dutchman
La Gioconda
Thaïs

The idea was to figure out which I would enjoy most, something fast-moving and understandable (and, I suspect, avoiding those that might be too "adult" for me). As I remember, the final 3 that Mom and I discussed were Carmen, Così fan tutti, and Turandot.

Given those alternatives, I think we chose right. Turandot, like other Puccini, moves along, at movie speed; I didn't have to learn to deal with all the word-repetition and standard forms that later puzzled me (temporarily) with Mozart and Verdi. It has a simple fairy-tale sort of story (I knew about stern princesses asking riddles), and lots of color and splendor. I loved it.


Edited by Jon (02/11/16 09:49 PM)

Top
#30869 - 02/14/16 08:33 PM Re: Opera 10 [Re: Jon]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Oh my, what a list to choose from! One Puccini, one Verdi, one Mozart, one Wagner...a little something for everybody. It can't have been easy to pick just one. I'm glad it turned out to be the right one. One more word about Turandot. Did you read this comment in the NYTimes review?

"Speaking of those 'three prattlers who have escaped from a perverted dream of Gilbert and Sullivan,' as one critic put it in 1926, it was impossible to watch this Turandot without thinking about the continuing debate about race in The Mikado, or indeed the Met’s correct decision to cease using blackface in Verdi’s Otello. Turandot, and Mr. Zeffirelli’s Turandot in particular, is as forthright in its Orientalism as it is discomforting in its representation of rape. Unlike The Mikado, it cannot plausibly be seen as satire. Is it right, today, to show Turandot so unquestioningly, and so unashamedly? And in a genre in which so many insist on focusing so strongly on works from a distant past, where do we draw the line of taste and tolerance?"

Top
#30871 - 02/14/16 11:07 PM Re: Opera 10 [Re: Barbara]
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
I didn't, but it's a conversation about certain operas that's happening in many quarters lately. It doesn't have easy answers, and the answers inevitably change over time as perspectives change. The nonwhite opera singers I know are interestingly diverse in their opinions on the matter.

Top
#30958 - 04/06/16 12:00 AM Re: Opera 10 [Re: Jon]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Well, Butterfly is still knocking 'em dead; Saturday my theater was packed, and the audience kept applauding through the whole thing. This was the first time I'd heard Kristine Opolais, and I'm hearing Butterfly's entrance in my head right now. The first act was rather erotic. Alagna seems to keep getting stronger the older he grows. A little too strong, perhaps; he completely drowned out the soprano at the end of their first-act love duet. But he made Pinkerton's remorse at the end more convincing than I've ever seen/heard, although this hero can never really be sympathetic.

I thought it was a terrific show. The puppet-son was just as effective in this production as in the last one that used it. I liked the décor and the costumes -- although the outfit designed for Yamadori was a bit de trop. I realize he was meant to look ridiculous, a vain and selfish man not worthy of Butterfly. But during his one brief appearance, I halfway expected to hear him burst out with "My object all sublime, I shall achieve in time..."

Top
#30970 - 04/19/16 03:24 AM Re: Opera 10 [Re: Barbara]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Well, now I've seen all three of Donizetti's "queen" operas, thanks to the Met's very first production of Roberto Devereaux, a mere 179 years after its debut in Naples. I enjoyed the first two queens, Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda, in a passive sort of way. But this opera about Elizabeth I (in spite of its title) rang the bell loud and clear.

Having a dream cast didn't hurt. Much has been made of the fact that Sondra Radvanovsky is the first soprano since Beverly Sills to sing all three queens in the same season. She gave a heroic performance as Elizabeth; that's the best way to describe her handling of what is obviously a demanding role. As Devereaux, Matthew Polenzani never sounded more lush and sensuous. The other two featured roles were sung by two of my favorite singers. Elina Garanca, she of the smoky and unmistakable voice, sang the Duchess of Nottingham. Mariusz Kwiecien gave a virile and compelling performance as her husband, the Duke of Nottingham. Those four people were simply amazing, singing together or alone.

The set was sumptuous and traditional, but there were a couple of costume oddities in the first act. Elizabeth's fancy dress was so elaborate and so BIG that Radvanovsky looked as if she was wearing a chandelier. And for some reason Devereaux was wearing armor...at court. Oooh, that is a HUGE no-no. Opera is notorious for playing fast and loose with historical fact, and Roberto Devereaux is no exception. Still, I wish Donizetti and his librettist could have come up with some ending other than having Elizabeth abdicate!

Top
#30971 - 04/19/16 02:47 PM Re: Opera 10 [Re: Barbara]
Lorna Offline
Member

Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 2676
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
She abdicates? Oh dear.

Top
#30972 - 04/20/16 04:45 PM Re: Opera 10 [Re: Lorna]
Austin
Unregistered


Wait a minute...how could this be the Met's first production of Roberto Devereaux if Beverly Sills sang all three queens?

Top
#30974 - 04/21/16 03:56 PM Re: Opera 10 [Re: ]
Christopher Offline
Member

Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
Hmm...I think Sills did her queens hat trick at the City Opera, not the Met.

Top
#30975 - 04/23/16 01:20 AM Re: Opera 10 [Re: Christopher]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Yes, that's right, New York City Opera -- which reopened this year after a few years of bankruptcy.

Top
Page 5 of 6 < 1 2 3 4 5 6 >

Moderator:  Jon