Monday, January 18, 2010

An operatic day

Yesterday was opera day, and Rebecca and I went to see Il Trovatore. One of the fliers advertised Il Trovatore as the opera with the most Hit Tunes. This may well be true, as there were several numbers which I had played with my friend Deborah as piano duets when wee. And I think The Anvil Chorus was a regular in Loonytune cartoons. The story was a tragedy of course, but at the end, one leaves feeling good, and as thought one has just had a lot of fun. At the end of La Traviata, people all around me were having attacks of the sniffles, but this time, everyone left smiling, despite the fact that the stage is littered with the corpses of the main characters. Maybe we are unmoved because the story was so absurd, and who can feel sorry for someone who, trying to throw her enemy’s baby into the fire, accidentally throws in her own? She did lovingly raise the wrong baby as her own darling son, but none the less, there is that initial nastiness that rather robs one of total sympathy. The doomed lovers, of course, end up dead, but in such dysfunctional families, one feels that maybe they are better off.

The music itself, and the singing, as I said, were wonderful, but the production was disconcerting. The coats worn by the main men made them all look like dwarfs, and hence robbed them of a bit of credibility as valiant heroes, and the staging was weird and a bit too starkly modern for my taste. This approach worked well in Bluebeard's Castle, but not so well in something Italian – where a little rococo y robusto is needed. The scene in the Gypsy Camp (with the anvil players) looked like something from Bruegel, but that was done with the brilliant lighting, not scenery. Lighting was not enough to save the final scene. This looked like a modern jetliner sinking into the sea rather than a dungeon in something-th century Spain.
During the intermission, I spotted this fabulous hen purse. This was more like it. I asked its owner (whose name I stupidly forgot to ask, being so intrigued by the purse itself - as well as the rest of her marvelous outfit,) if I could photograph it, and she agreed. She designed and made the purse itself, and it was maybe the most beautiful bag I have ever seen. It was a montage of needlework techniques, and a collage of luxurius fabrics and other materials. Note the hen’s little fingernails, made from upholstery brads. Her hat was wonderful too, and maintained the chicken theme. Not sure if you can tell in the photo, but it is decorated by lovely little chicken feathers.

The top picture is the Seattle Opera House, aka McCaw Hall.


Anonymous said...

Joanna - that is a beautiful bag. I am so glad she let you photograph her.

Laura said...

Beautiful picture of the opera hall! Your review delightful!! What an interesting lady with her home made fowl theme outfit. Wouldn't it be fun to see what else she's made.

Knitman said...

I like that woman!