Saturday, February 5, 2011

Intermission . . .

It’s intermission, but for whatever reason, we’ve lost our Wifi connection, so I’ll have to write up my thoughts in Word for now and pull them over to Blogger when we’re back online.
Let me say first that this opera engaged me intellectually from the outset, even as it pulled me in musically and visually. I’m intrigued by the libretto itself, its politics – commissioned for the coronation as King of Bohemia of the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold. It makes some pretty strong statements about what is required of a truly noble leader – the opposite approach, in a way, to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro which instead condemns a ruler’s lack of nobility.

Favourite musical moments so far: Annio and Servilia’s gorgeous and touching duet which emphasizes the conflicting demands of love and duty.
And Sesto’s aria beseeching Vitellia not to turn away from him, promising he will do her bidding and destroy Tito – her voice is beautifully shadowed by the woodwinds looping along the broken-chord runs (I’m making a jump here, and relying on my ear without a script)
It looks as if the Wireless connection is back, so I’ll try to transcribe this before heading back in to take in the rest of the show. More later. . .

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Saturday Night at the Opera . . .

Here we are again, in the lobby of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, catching up on each others' activities over the past months since Lucia, Stacey, my fellow blogger chatting politics with my husband, Paul. Paul and I have been admiring Stacey's maroon Boulet boots and the way they complement his new shirt and tie -- clearly, the sartorial effect of opera attendance! And just a quick peek at some of the costumes gives you an idea of the inspiration available.

And oh la la! Nik just walked up to our table, and she looks amazing in a short red dress set off by a great fun fur vest. I'll try to get a pic later.

We've just taken our usual break to have a peek backstage, and we're all impressed by the very clean, elegant, evocative stage set (bought by VOA by Santa Fe). Stage direction for this production is by Chas Rader-Shieber, and having seen the stage, I'm now very keen to see the costumes and watch the opera come alive -- so far, there's a very 18th-century vibe but channelling the Classical period of the opera's setting -- so Classical period as Mozart might have envisioned.

Paul was fascinated by the complexity of the backstage electronics and general technology as well as by the economics of set design -- the original cost, but also the depreciation vs. the possibility of generating revenue through rental or sale.

Now a bit about the opera itself -- it will be completely new to me, but I'm anticipating all that wonderful Mozartian emphasis on melody, melody, and more melody. As well, I know from the synopsis provided to expect a wealth of female roles. Or, at least, make that a wealth of females singing, albeit in male roles. Besides a tendency, even in Mozart's day, to have women sing certain male roles, this is even more demanded today as a realistic replacement to the castrati no longer, um, fashionable. . . . We have several mezzo-sopranos to watch out for tonight, and I'll let you know more about that at intermission, if I remember.

As for remembering, do you remember the movie Amadeus with its depiction of Antonio Salieri's consuming jealousy of Mozart? If so, you may be intrigued to know that Salieri was offered the comission to compose this opera first. Only after he turned it down was it offered to Mozart, who accepted with alacrity despite being already engaged in writing The Magic Flute.
I have to apologize for not crediting these photos provided by the Vancouver Opera -- too much of a rush out here right now and the chimes are beginning to encourage us to get inside and find our seats. I'll be back, though, at intermission . . . .'til then . . .

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