Saturday, May 3, 2008

Rataplan! Rataplan! Rataplan!

La Fille du Regiment
Gaetano Donizetti
May 2nd, 2008

My dad said that it was the single best opera performance he had ever been to in his life. In his entire life. I had to think for a minute when he said this, but after a while I nodded and said, "I might have to agree with you."

It might not have been as emotionally or operatically draining as the day I saw Otello and Carmen within a few hours of each other. It might not have been as... Actually... You know, I think maybe it was. There are no exceptions to this rule (so far). Juan Diego Florez and Natalie Dessay (along with the rest of the cast) blew the roof off of the Met like I have never seen before. Every aria, duet, trio, or ensemble was greeted with ovations that were twice as long, or more, as one would usual hear. I have never heard an audience react like that. Not only to "Ah mes amis" (for which there was no encore, but the ovation went on for longer than at the HD!) but for all of Natalie's arias, JDF's second act aria, and everything else.
Speaking of Juan Diego Florez's second act aria... that Db was out of this world. It's still ringing in my ears. What. A. Voice. He played his character as a country bumpkin. Sort of nerdy, but it worked. When he was running on stage for the first act duet, he tripped on the clothes line and slid down the stage. A little unprepared humor. Natalie Dessay acted the daylights out of that role! She sang so masterfully! The most glorious sounds came out of her mouth while she was a) lying on her back b) peeling potatoes c) folding laundry, and d) being carried around the stage. I've never seen anything like it. Her mumbling to the audience in the first act was really funny. I could hardly hear her, but I'm not sure you're supposed to.
Felicity Palmer, Alessandro Corbelli, Marian Seldes, what more is there to say? Palmer and Corbelli sounded just as wonderful as in the broadcast. No disappointments there. Madame Seldes's humor seemed less over the top in the house. However, the "bobsled team" was funny only once. Her French might not have improved, but she was so funny and what a presence! (Note: I think she was miked. I'm not sure, I could be wrong.)
Notable Notables: Donald Maxwell as Hortensuis. While I think the HD suited him better, he brought a lot to his character and made it so funny. The french horn player, who has a solo in the overture. I love the french horn and when it sounds like that it really takes you to a different place. I loved it.
One of my favorite parts was the trio "Tous les trois reunis" not only because the music is so fabulous, but the staging for it was funny and clever. Natalie had to correct the audience with a shake of her finger when they (some, not all) applauded at the wrong times. I'm a sucker for this kind of thing, but when Sulpice (aka Corbelli) sings "Ecoutez moi!" and the others start singing while he holds it you could have knocked me down with a feather. I love when composers do that. It's so fulfilling!
The chorus and orchestra were once again phenomenal. Marco Armiliato really knows his stuff. He always seems like he's having a great time.

I had to mentally prepare myself during intermission to enter the Belmont Room. We had two passes, but I was so nervous! My dad says I'm impressed too easily, but all of those knowledgeable people in there are quite frightening. It turns out they're not that bad, but they did stare at me a great deal, being the youngest person there by far. It's such a lovely room and it looked like there were original manuscripts of something, but I couldn't get close enough to see.
We usually drive to and from the Met, but this time we took the train. In the subway there was a flute player playing "Ah, mes amis." I've heard stories about the flute player, but I'd never seen him. I gave him a big salute and enjoyed the music for the rest of the wait.

If only all performances could be that amazing. After a performance like that you feel like you've really accomplished something. Even though you were not in the show, the audience is a part of it. THE most important part of it. Usually I'm very jumpy and giggly after an opera, but this time I was very calm. I thought to myself "Wow, I've really seen something great. I've accomplished something." It's a good feeling.

Happy Listening!!! =)


Crazy Daisy said...

Dear CaroNome
Thank you. I really appreciate it. I read your blog everyday and am slowly starting to get piece things together. Little by little Ill get your amazing opera world. It will definately take some time though.LOL. I love your enthusiasm and although I may not have a clue about what the heck you are talking about your enthusiasm makes it entertaining? not the right word um makes it shine makes it dazzle makes you want to read it. thats one of the things I love about you and your blog. Keep writing and Ill keep reading.
Crazy Daisy

Anonymous said...

If not a "great" opera, a truly great show, and incredible singing and acting. On Monday, 5 May, JDF did the encore. In act two, Dessay channels Gilda Radner playing Coppelia to stunning effect. If Gelb wants to bring new fans to the house, this is the way--great singing, fine acting, productions that don't get in the way.
Taproom Tenor