Opera stuff

Jun. 8th, 2006 11:26 pm
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
Just got back from seeing LA opera's new shiny production of Grendel.  Hmmm, while the production is amazing - they had an animatronic, wood clockwork sheep-goat thing and it doesn't get any better than that - the opera is not one for the ages.  The best scene was Denyce Graves as a dragon giving advice to Grendel about the futility of it all.  The worst was Beowulf in his knickers fighting off Grendel. Though I did appreciate the dancer, who was very fine on many levels, the choreography was a bit silly, with lots of strange arm gestures and even stranger leg kicks. And the chorus then singing Beowulf's words word by word as if he was doing semaphore was probably not the most ideal way to set that scene.

But the set was amazing, as were the monsters -  this is really something to see for Julie Traymor's production rather than anything else.  It might be better if they ever got around to rewriting the second act, though, which is the bit at which I think the composer got a bit bored and started reusing his old film scores.

The La Traviata I saw for my birthday was nice - the lead soprano (Futral) is absolutely astonishing and worth going to anything to hear. And she can act (though not so much in this) - I saw her a couple of years ago as Cleopatra in Handel's Julius Caesar, and she was astonishingly good. She ripped my heart apart in that farewell scene with Alfredo and in the horrible bit at the party where he flings money in her face and she colllapses. 

But here the production was a bit wobbly. La Traviata doesn't strike me as an opera which updates that easily - the plot is rather wobbly and only totters along if you get into the 19th century hypocrisy and demand for courtesans.  (As opposed to prostitutes).  But they updated it to the 1920s which got rid of the lovely 1850s gowns in favour of some rather nice flapper costumes. But the updating made no sense thematically; you're not getting anything out of moving a plot about double standards and bourgeois small-mindedness into a era in which many of those double standards are being very publically challenged.

Also, sadly there was no real set to speak of, except for some mad thing with black matting and spider webs painted on it for Flora's party in the second act. There were also, sadly, disco balls.  I do not like disco balls. Except in 70s films. 

And the side effect of having actual life things going on was that I entirely missed reading [profile] dw_hate.  Which is probably good for my psyche but now everyone is talking about stuff and I am getting a bit confused. 


Jun. 7th, 2006 10:57 am
lesbiassparrow: (Default)

Tonight for my birthday I am off to see one of my unashamed melodramatic pleasures at the opera: La Traviata.  I don't care how cliched it is, how improbable Violetta singing for ages while dying of consumption is, I love it all.  Plus there will be lovely costumes and a great set.  There had better be no plastic, though.  I will be very annoyed if there is plastic of any sort. 

Then tomorrow (the scheduling is insane but I had to change one set of tickets because I will be gone on travels next week) I will be seeing LA opera's new opera Grendal. I am not so sure about the music for this one as I am not sold on the little of the composer I have heard, but the sets look amazing.  The production is by Julie Traynor who did the stage design for The Lion King and direct Titus.  I am not really sure what to expect but I am really looking forward to it.

If I didn't have so much to do before leaving on travels then I would be very happy. As it is I am repressing the knowledge of the work by doing the mindless stuff in front of the telly and watching X-Men 2. Because you can never have enough Wolverine.

lesbiassparrow: (Default)

I'm about to do the yearly shelling out of money to Los Angeles Opera (though not for season tickets this year, as last season had too many dodgy productions to lure me back to that extent) and as a way to steel myself up to handing over the credit cards I decided to post some of my favourite opera moments.  These are the ones where I am reminded of everything that I love about opera and that it's worth the money and the occasional five hour performance or ill-advised use of plastic which crunches so loudly it interferes with the singers (I am still not over that occuring in Parsifal this season).


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