Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Day After a Marvelous Evening

Upon this last evening, the Metropolitan Opera opened its exciting, glamorous 2010-2011 season with their new production of Richard Wagner's Das Rheingold. While necessity dictated that I could not hear it in its entirety, I heard much of it, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy Wagner's luscious music. The Germanic and Slavic music of the latter half of the nineteenth century is especially resplendent, and the rich harmonies are as refreshing as water to the spirit and the ear. The cast, which included Bryn Terfel, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Stephanie Blythe, Gerhard Siegel, Eric Owens, Patricia Bardon, Richard Croft, Franz-Josef Selig, and Hans-Peter Konig, proved to be in excellent form, and maestro James Levine, who is a noted Wagnerian conductor, led the orchestra exceedingly well. The warm timbres of the brass and the woodwinds blended excellently with the strings, and there seemed to be real cohesion between all of the various groups of instruments. I have heard the complete Ring cycle on other occasions, but this beginning makes me excited for the rest of it, and it solidifies the reasons why I enjoy it so much when I hear it within my mind. This new production was designed by Robert Lepage, and after I viewed the images of the performance on the Met's website, I was most impressed with the technological magic that happened on that stage. There are so many lighting and projection effects that make the actions on stage appear to be so much more realistic in the audience's perception of them, and it makes you wish that every opera was produced with such realism infused into it. The one thing that did disappoint me was an apparent lack of any set pieces. I think that this production could have been even that much better with forest trees and different rocks and things of that nature. I am waiting to see a waterfall on the Met's stage! To give us some idea of the technical demands of this production, there appears to be forty-three computer monitors in the Met's auditorium during rehearsal in a photograph of the sight. To reflect upon the whole, we can safely say that this marvelous production, which makes us wonder as to the actual technical limits of the Metropolitan Opera, is a resounding success.

Tonight we are treated to the joys of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann as the second performance of the Metropolitan Opera's newly commenced season, and it stars the delightful Kate Lindsey, Giuseppe Filianotti, whose voice is better suited to the leading role than Joseph Calleja's in my opinion, for this role requires a tenor who has a light voice, Anna Christy, and Ildar Abdrazakov. When I watched this production on my local PBS station last year, I was immediately struck by the details within the production, and I thought that Kate Lindsey was excellent as Nicklausse and the Muse. Her character was ever present, which gave the three episodes continuity and it provided a greater depth to her characters. The surprise of last year's cast was the beautiful voice of Kathleen Kim. Her voice was exceedingly clear, and she has one of those sopranos that you desire to hear again and again. If I listen to John Adams' Nixon in China for no other reason, it will be to hear her sing the role of Chian Ch'ing. Tonight promises to be an excellent performance, and it will be broadcast live on the Metropolitan Opera's SiriusXM channel at eight o'clock this evening in the Eastern time zone.

As for the personal nature of my blog, if I may share some of the things that have been happening to me of late, I was given my first supporting role in a musical, and I am scheduled to perform as Lieutenant Brannigan in Loesser's Guys and Dolls in November near the Thanksgiving holiday. I have also been asked to assist the production team of a church's children's Christmas musical, and I hope it turns out better than performances of that variety usually do.

I was approached yesterday by an adjunct professor of voice from Oklahoma City University, which is an university you should know for the reason that it is the alma mater of Broadway stars Kristen Chenoweth and Kelli O'Hara and opera soprano Sarah Coburn, and this professor, whom I have come to know rather well, very graciously offered to provide free voice lessons to me since she and my employer are good friends and colleagues, and after I voiced my obvious reservations and apprehensions to such an arrangement, we came to the mutual agreement that I should take them at her continued behest. I am scheduled to meet with her next week to converse upon my specific goals and fundamental knowledge, and I am immensely excited to have been presented with this wonderful opportunity.

To mention something of opera before I should finish this post, I was most enthralled by the BBC Proms over the summer months, and they are an exceptional comfort when the opera season in the United States is taking a leave of absence to prepare for the next season. There were so many extraordinary singers who displayed themselves in so many diverse works, and I enjoyed every concert I heard from the world's largest classical music festival. I must say that I have yet to hear Dorothea Roschmann's recital from the festival, but I have it waiting for the next convenient opportunity, so I have high expectations for this lauded performance.

As many of you now are aware, I have discovered an excellent place to hold recourse and learn about opera through Twitter. There are many star singers who have accounts with this social media outlet, and they update them with some regularity. Many of the organizations that present their talents to us also have accounts, and these are most informative places from which to receive information. Broadway shows even have Twitter accounts, and they have contests to win souvenirs from the shows sometimes. I won an autographed poster from the cast of A Little Night Music recently, and I cannot wait to see it on my wall! Yes, the last part was boastful on my part, but that is just one of my vices that my readers must accept.

Thank you for continuing to peruse my humble posts, and I pray that God continues to bless you in every facet of your lives.


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