Yes, Verdi in Las Vegas. The Met’s new production of Rigoletto had me worried. I listened to Rigoletto several times this past season via online stream and thought it sounded wonderful, but I had not seen the new production; so Michael Mayer’s re-conceptualization of Rigoletto’s world was lost to me. Until now.
I have to hand it to Mayer. His ideas for Rigoletto—planting this opera in the Las Vegas of the 1950s/1960s allowed me to see parts of the characters that I’ve never seen before. I saw the lounge-lizard qualities of each man that I might not see in a more traditional staging. Let’s face it, each male character in Rigoletto is a player; every man on stage is playing—playing a part with and against all of the other men, playing with/toying with/manipulating the women. This opera is really all about manipulation to the ultimate limits. I’ve never doubted Rigoletto’s love for Gilda, but there’s a strong undercurrent of manipulation there, as well. The Duke? He’s the ultimate manipulator. Ceprano? He’s hiding behind a facade, just like every other guy who sings in Rigoletto …
Perhaps the one character who stays true to his character from the beginning of the story is Sparafucile, and that is a shuddering thought.
So, yes. I thoroughly enjoyed Mayer’s conceptualization of Rigoletto. I saw things this time around that were new and enlightening. It’s always a joy to find something new in an “old” opera!
Of course, Lucic and Damrau were brilliant. Personally, I thought Štefan Kocán sang a beautiful Sparafucile! His voice is so resonant, and he acted the part stupendously!
like a veritable angel (although I’ve never heard an angel sing). I imagine that an angel sounds something like Croft; and yes, when I heard Croft sing, I was in heaven—my version of heaven on earth, anyhow.
Hearing/seeing Richard Croft sing live was a majorly big item on my life’s bucket list, and this item has been accomplished. So now, I’ve got to get a new dream, find a new wish. Honestly, my life felt so complete after I heard him perform live. Life simply doesn’t get much better than hearing an haute-contre tenor sing beautiful new music by an incredibly talented composer.
So which opera defines this moment … a moment in which you’ve been told that you are defensive and reactionary?
I’m thinking Tosca.
And yeah, I guess I am defensive and reactionary. I tend to defend myself and react to protect myself in situations that I find threatening. Don’t most people????? If you don’t, then you might have the problem.
DENTONâA roaring ovation followed Wednesday nightâs world premiere of Jake Heggieâs Ahab Symphony. Commissioned by the University of North Texas, as part of an artist-in-residence program, the new piece, for tenor solo, chorus and orchestra, was introduced at the universityâs Murchison …
Yesterday’s broadcast from the Met may have been Wagner’s Siegfried, but I slept through most of it. Instead, I’ve got Parsifal on my mind today—more particularly, Amfortas’ wound … that wound that could not heal without the elements of a “foolish” compassion and sacred objects.
Life, by its very nature, inflicts wounds upon us. Some of our wounds are, by all appearances, incurable, save for a foolish compassion and a holy grace and mercy.
My community lost someone this week. We are living out Wagner’s Parsifal, but the holy fool did not reappear in the third act bearing spear and compassion to baptize and heal a wound. It feels surreal … this loss. It makes me wonder what happened next for Parsifal’s community of brothers … if they were saved by spear and compassion, where does that leave us? If compassion missed the mark, can it make an appearance post-death?
What if, every single time you wanted to work, you had to do a job interview? Let’s say, for the sake of argument, every single time you wanted to work on a new project or assignment, even if you’d worked on a similar project before, even if you’d worked for…
We are halfway through the Met’s Saturday broadcasts of the Ring Cycle. Two Saturdays ago, the Met broadcasted Das Rheingold, and yesterday, the Met broadcasted Die Walkure. Such glorious performances—both of them!
I’m always stunned at the brevity of Das Rheingold and the power of Die Walkure. Das Rheingold makes me want more, and Die Walkure reduces me to nothing. Nothing, I tell you.
Yesterday, Die Walkure was a notable performance mainly because Simon O’Neill, singing the part of Siegmund, went out in the middle of Act 1 with allergies, and his cover, Andrew Sritheran, stepped in … The New York Times didn’t seem too impressed with Sritheran’s singing, but his voice wasn’t too displeasing to the ears.
Of course, I’m biased. Die Walkure is one of my favorite operas, so for me, it was a good broadcast. And last week’s Das Rheingold was equally impressive—Eric Owens positively owned the part of Alberich. Quite frankly, I was disappointed when Das Rheingold ended … the performance felt so short, and I really wanted more.