Mitch on seeing Walkure:
>The seemingly immortal Placido Domingo was Siegmund. The program
>notes said Domingo knows 124 rolls (his Web site says 123), either
>one of which boggles the mind (see below).
I recently played in the pit for Der Rosenkavalier, and as always I
marvel how singers can learn and memorize such complex roles, in foreign
languages, no less, and sing them in public while acting. I've always
felt that way while playing opera, but Rosenkavalier is such a complicated
piece. Orchestral musicians joke about the intelligence of singers (well
some of them do), but this ability boggles my mind. I can't imagine
>The sets were fantastic! I am very stodgy when it comes to the classics,
>especially ones I haven't seen before; I want to know why they have
>endured for all these years.
>So when, at the start of Act 2, Valhalla
>was portrayed as a New York City skyscraper, and Wotan was dressed in
>a modern business suit and looking like Tony Soprano as Chairman of the
>Board, I was not optimistic. But it worked, as did the modest attempts
>to make the dialogue a bit more modern (the phrase "boggles my mind" and
>"that Valkyrie gang" were seen). Speaking of Wotan, Alan Held was
>spectacular. Other modern touches to contrast with what I assume was
>a rather traditional Act 1: The Valkyries looked like motorcycle babes,
>and the projected background for their "Ride" was a series of jet fighters
For once I'm more conservative than Mitch (he knows what I mean), but
I don't care for updating operas. Part of their appeal is their time
and setting, and I've never seen the point of "updating." Wagner is
based on Norse and German myth and it's always seemed wise to me keep
it there--that's part of its appeal. Same as reading a novel set in
a certain time. Der Rosenkavalier was set in mid-18th Century Vienna.
That's half its charm, too. Why update it? (Has this ever been done?
Yikes.) Well I once played for a "L'Elisir d' Amore" set as an American
western and that English National Carmen I saw set in a junkyard.....
>This being Washington, D.C., it might not surprise people to hear that
>in the audience just two rows ahead of us were Donald Rumsfeld and Newt
>Gingrich. Now before you sneer, let me say that not only were there no
>photogs or hangers-on, but they stayed til the end. With Die Walkuere
>lasting four hours, forty-five minutes (two intermissions), that
Lots of right wingers are opera lovers. I wonder what that means. That
they like fantasies?
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