Saturday, July 25, 2009


Rachael and I saw the opera Carmen for the second time last night, and it was excellent.

Most opera I've been to, including Carmen the first time, has been more occasion to exercise endurance than to experience pleasure. I've figured that I should make an attempt to appreciate this lasting artform that so much effort goes into, and which seems to be widely enjoyed by cultured, intelligent folk. It may be that I'm a bit lacking in those qualities, but I've been nonplussed by the cliched love stories and ornamented performance that has seems endemic to the medium.

Ah, but this Carmen was different. I felt the danger on the stage, the jealous insanity, the exasperation, the integrity of character. I'm not sure what was different; it may truly be just that we sat on the balcony near the stage (rather than on the orchestra level), and I could actually appreciate the performance. I may have missed the emotional significance of previous operas just by being in a poor position to receive the signals. Or, this one might have just been that much better in it's directing and performance. I would say that the story was much more compelling, but again, I saw it a few years ago and was much less moved.

Either way it's re-invigorated my interest in a medium that I was ready to write off and give up on.

Come to think of it, there are a fair number of opera performances that I've enjoyed. I think this would be the list:

La Finta Giardiniera
Turn of the Screw
[the opera in english that Danielle performed in... I forget the name]
Poe [to some extent, retrospectively]
La Boheme

I suppose that's about a quarter of all I've seen, so maybe opera's track record with me isn't so bad.

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