Saturday, February 04, 2012
A Dose of Opera: At least once a decade
Andy's best friend took us to see Anna Netrebko in Donzietti's Anna Bolena. I see opera about once every ten years, but this was wrth waiting for: a new Metropolitan Opera production, spare sets, beautiful singers who were also actors. No deii ex machina-- all human wickedness and passion. Also, I knew the general story, although Donizietti's romantic version of the Anne Boleyn downfall, premiered in 1830, didn't have much to do with history. It did have a revolutionary subtext with Henry VIII seen as a tyrant, so part of what is going on is a struggle against tyrants.
We were in the center of the balcony, and oh those columns of sound rising up to us like comets or geysers or some kind of natural phenomena. I kept using the binoculars wanting to see the faces, but had the insight that the faces aren't where the emotional meaning is in the opera-- even though the acting was fine-- it's in--duh!-- the voices.
Being there is so intrinsic to the experience: everything from the chandeliers slowly rising and the forty person chorus and the ranks and rows of all of us applauding in the red and gold seats-- you are part of an event, not just an entertainment.