Category Archives: Idiots at the Opera

Manon — Another Opera with a Tragic Bad Girl

Given my love for La Traviata and all things related to Marie Duplessis, of course I wanted to see Manon at the Met. We made it to the second, of only six performances last Thursday night.

My verdict: C’est Magnifique!

To those of you still baffled by that first sentence and the connection between the two operas, allow me to explain. Verdi’s masterpiece, La Traviata was based on the play, Camille, which was based on the novel, La Dame Aux Camelias. The novel and play were written by Alexandre Dumas fils and were both based on his brief love affair with Mademoiselle Duplessis – an infamous Parisian courtesan who died of tuberculosis at age 23. In both the book and the play (and in most of the film versions), Marguerite Gautier (the heroine) receives a copy of the novel Manon Lescout from her lover. Dumas fils apparently really did give Marie a copy of Abbé Prévost’s novel. Continue reading Manon — Another Opera with a Tragic Bad Girl

Alert: NY Opera Exchange This Weekend: Lucia di Lammermoor!

Just wanted to let you know that the NY Opera Exchange, a small company that showcases emerging singers and musicians, will be performing Donizetti’s Lucia Di Lammermoor this Friday, February 27 thru Sunday, March 1st. All tickets are only $25. The venue is a midtown church with excellent acoustics. For info and to purchase tickets, just click the above link.

Joyce Triumphant — La Donna Del Lago at the Met

Let Joyce reign! Let us reJoyce! I’ll stop now but you get the idea.  Joyce DiDinato was radiant and triumphant as Elena in last night’s premiere of Rossini’s La Donna Del Largo. The music might as well have been written for her. She was perfection, and part of perfection is grace– the ability as in Fred Astaire’s dancing to make us believe that it’s all as natural as breathing. And thank you, Met opera for pairing her again with Juan Diego Florez, who sang King James. Last year the two of them were fantastic together in La Cenerentola though illness prevented him form many of the performances.

Daniela Bacellona the mezzo in the trouser role of Malcolm also gave a strong performance and was especially good in her duet with DiDinato, and John Osborn singing Rodrigo was powerful and charismatic.

The orchestra was ably conducted by Michele Mariotti.

But was it all wonderful? Not exactly. Continue reading Joyce Triumphant — La Donna Del Lago at the Met

That Katy Perry Grammy Dress AND A Certain Novel…

I didn’t watch the Grammy’s and mostly what I heard about was Kanye West’s latest “tell us what you really think even if nobody asked” rant.  Then today, trolling the internet for references to La Traviata as I am wont to do, I found out about Katy Perry’s Verdi inspired dress by Valentino.

The opera/classical music world as well as the fashion world seemed to notice. Most people probably just thought — nice dress, but I thought, “Hmmm 170 years after her death, Marie Duplessis continues to be a fashion-trendsetter.”  Why don’t you read more about that here?

Are You Afraid of the Dark? — Iolanta/Bluebeard’s Castle at the Met Opera

We caught last night’s “double-bill” performance from the cheap seats – or rather standing room. We “won” the rush ticket draw for the premiere on January 26 what got cancelled due to the subway closings in preparation for the blizzard that wasn’t. We were really looking forward to a romantic walk home, maybe stopping at every open bar, diner and Dunkin Donuts on the way, but it was not to be. We tried rush a couple more times but didn’t win, so we went with the next best thing. And while we really don’t mind standing – the better half wants a standing desk at work – when a well-heeled couple asked if they could trade with us at half-time because they were leaving early, we didn’t refuse.

So what did we think?

First Iolanta: When a humongous holographic deer was projected onto the stage it looked like a great start. But the setting and stage direction, which at first seemed beautiful, began to grate. Iolanta lives in a house within a secluded garden. The house has a wall with a door. but otherwise it’s only a framed room. It seemed in the beginning there was a rule, and characters could only enter or exit through the door, so I “imagined” the clear walls were glass, as other characters could see through them, but Iolanta couldn’t hear through them – unless they were speaking to her directly. But then about halfway through people could walk in and out through the frame. As in many operas, conversations take place in front of a character on stage who is not supposed to be able to hear what the Continue reading Are You Afraid of the Dark? — Iolanta/Bluebeard’s Castle at the Met Opera