Monday, December 12, 2005

opera is the new something-or-other

I don't know what happened. "I don't like opera" is the official line, but I spent a good part of yesterday watching it and enjoying it greatly. I randomly caught a broadcast of the Berlin Philharmonic led by Sir Simon Rattle performing Carmina Burana (admittedly just a concert, not a full opera). They were on "Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi," so I had to stay and watch the percussionist go mad, but the rest was often great too. There's an odd mix of truly beautiful melodies, others that are almost irritatingly naïve and a moment of fantastic shout-singing in the second act. Serendipitously, IVN's mother offered us a double DVD containing Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "Cosi Fan Tutte" later that very day. I eagerly watched the first act of Cosi, principally to hear for myself what had been the source of Canadienne's south-of-France woes. I liked the light-heartedness of it ("touch my foot" (!)). I now feel primed, ready and compelled (by how rockin' Carmina Burana seemed to be, up close and personal) to go to my first-ever real, big opera: La Monnaie's production of Wagner's "Der fliegende Holländer" (it's also on TV a few days before Christmas).

Interestingly, the German audience didn't clap at all during the 2004 performance, preferring to cough and stir in their seats between movements, whereas the 1989 La Scala crowd applauded the end of every scene and the singers even took a bow at the end of the first act.