Thursday, May 04, 2006

Yes, and crying does make it better

Last night, after my rather shocking morning atop the Empire State Building, I made my way for my very first opera at "The Met". I had heard that the sets would be amazing and the chandeliers inspiring, but location can only do so much to an opera if the principals are not up to the task.

Rest assured, these were. I had high hopes of quality performance since it starred the recording superstar Renee Fleming and Andreas Scholl. Just as importantly, the support characters, particularly the other female lead, were just as strong and commanding of the stage. The opera was "Rodelinda", of which I must admit to not being particularly familiar, but knowing Handel from many performances of "Messiah", I knew the type of work I was in for. Essentially it is a set of arias strung together with a story, accompanied only by a Baroque size orchestra. Not generally my taste, as I do love the swell of a full orchestra, and the majesty of the entire chorus. So for me, this was opera in intimate mode.

This aside, I was overwhelmed by the aria "Dove sei", sung by Bertarido in Act I. Counter-tenors have never quite been my thing, but Andreas milked such emotion, that the aria struck a chord with me. Further, fewer duets can be more beautiful in my humble experience, than that between Rodelinda and Bertarido, "Io t'abricco". In this duet, the fact that their voices were so closely matched (counter-tenor and soprano), they melded musically, and this seemed to further signify the strong love between the characters.

Needless to say, I wept, as I could feel their pain of parting. And those tears, certainly salved a wounded soul.

There is *nothing* like a night at the opera.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

So glad you enjoyed it - now I'm going to have to go back and listen to my recording properly. Very excited that you're in NY and look forward to hearing all about it next week. CS.

Miss Natalie said...

Totally agree - nothing beats a night at the opera. I am spoilt though - Sydney Opera House is my local ;-)