I recently attended a recital with Carrie Hennessey and John Cozza at the Crocker Art Museum celebrating a current exhibit about Toulouse-Lautrec. The song selections were marvelous: Satie, Poulenc, Schoenberg and Gustave Charpentier. All had something to do with night club singing. The Charpentier was the aria from Louise.
The Schoenberg group included a song "Arie aus dem Spiegel" on a text by Emanuel Schikaneder, the librettist for the Magic Flute. Carrie thought it sounded like something Papageno would sing. It is necessary at this point to remember that Schikaneder was the original Papageno.
I remember that I went to New York when the Klimt paintings went on display at the Neue Gallerie after the legal settlement. It was wonderful to see them up close.
So it is only fair that I should see the Woman in Gold movie. I liked it much more than I thought I would. It was a beautiful and emotional film. Helen Mirren is the best.
I tend to feel that art belongs to everyone and should be on display, and that wasn't the point of view of the movie. They made it clear that if the museum owners had behaved respectfully at any point she might have decided differently. I feel myself that being treated with respect is what matters most.
You can watch the brand new Cavalleria Rusticana from the Salzburg Easter Festival on YouTube. Here are some bits.
I like both Kaufmann and Lyudmyla Monastyrska in this.
I find that I want to comment on the production. It was hard to understand exactly what was going on. There was a conductor in the pit and an orchestra, and they were playing. On the stage it seemed to be a film playing. Up to six different screens appeared in two rows, and the scenes of people milling around outside the church for Easter services could have actually been films. The gorgeous choral work could not be seen, and they didn't get a bow.
The only thing I could figure out was a large screen with films of live action which went on behind it. The maybe four actual sets were shot and put together into what we were seeing. It was hard to tell exactly since I am possibly seeing a film of a film. Or who really knows?
In the scenes with mama Lucia there were two mysterious men that came and went. I kept rewinding to see what happened. And who exactly were they? Mama seemed to be working.
The plot was easy to follow. It was only confusing if you wanted to understand how they did it.
She's right. You can't tell from a film, but my current guess is two rows of three boxes. Sometimes they are only frames that make it look like boxes. Turiddu is respectable but Santuzza isn't, though they live together and have a child together.
The street cleared and mama Lucia's box appeared in the lower row. They must be rolled around backstage. Maybe this would only work for the lower row. One can't help wondering.
There is a film also of I Pagliacci which I find I don't like quite as much. There is the same arrangement of two rows of boxes. In this one when the play is being enacted in one section above, there are closeups projected on the section next to it. Then at the end there is a big empty stage. Curious.
I commented a few times on line during the live stream of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore from the Bayerische Staatsoper. "It's in Ailyn's contract that she must look gorgeous." Now I realize that this role was originally played by Anna Netrebko, and that it is probably she who has this in her contract. Her Nemorino was also Matthew Polenzani.
"Die Öde verschlingt ihn," also popped into my head when the set was revealed. This means the wasteland engulfs him and is a line from the Alto Rhapsody. We're in Somalia, or somewhere war ravaged and deserted like that, but nevertheless, Adina always looks gorgeous. Everyone else looks terrible.
Above are Adina and Nemorino early in the opera. Though I have searched for quite a while, I have not been able to find a picture of Belcore's soldiers who in this production are in combat fatigues with lots of guns and gear. They gang up on Adina in a very threatening way, and only when Belcore threatens to kill Nemorino does she agree to marry him. In all of the versions of Elixir that I have seen this one makes it clearest that Adina always adores Nemorino and is just messing with him. The oddest thing in the whole production has to be:
Nemorino singing "Una furtiva lagrima" while up a telephone pole. Poor Matthew. I don't quite know what to say about this production with all its aura of menace. The women's chorus tried to make it all light and entertaining, but for a while in the first act it got pretty creepy. Area 51? Don't get me wrong. The cast was fabulous, with magnificent singing and acting from beginning to end. Ailyn Pérez is becoming a great singer. She got the biggest applause.
I enjoy very much West Edge Opera's theatrical creativity. This summer from July 25 to August 9 they will present 3 operas, each in its own venue. And none of them are theaters.
What! Another Lulu? It's everywhere, and this one will be presented in Oakland's abandoned train station on 16th street. Lulu will be sung by Emma McNairy. I am formally declaring 2015 the year of Lulu. In addition to this performance it will simulcast from the Met and stream from Munich.
The next opera is As One by Laura Kaminsky, an opera that premiered last fall at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. And the venue is the Oakland Metro, 630 3rd st, a punk rock venue near Jack London Square.
The third and last opera is billed as Ulysses but is usually called Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria by Claudio Monteverdi. This opera has a very cool contralto role. It's venue is American Steel Studios at 1960 Mandela Parkway. This is sort of an architectural tour of Oakland.
After abandoning El Cerrito High School, West Edge has been homeless. I am very much attracted to this creative solution. I find it all very exciting.
Andrew Porter wrote for the New Yorker in the seventies, the time in my life when I read it from cover to cover. He was deeply curious and wrote long pleasing articles. The one I remember most vividly is the long essay on the completion of Lulu in 1976. He was a fabulous writer.