Thursday, May 15, 2008

Le papillon

It was SUCH a beautiful day yesterday, but I was a bit groggy yesterday morning when I got up...I guess umpteen beers and hot dogs and things at a baseball game the night before will do that to you.

I'm rehearsing for a concert on Saturday, and I'd been a little frustrated with my voice. It took me a couple days transition time to get back to where I felt I had the flexibility to sing art songs after spending time powering through my Verdi music. The good thing is that I got it back, and now I feel relatively secure and like I'll be able to do the things I want to do in the recital without sounding woofy. It's a good lesson for me to learn...singing at full tilt in the passaggio for hours on end does not a slender, flexible voice enable.

After work I got dressed and we went to dinner at XS before walking over to the opera house. I love my neighborhood. I can walk to work, to the opera, to My Thai, to the symphony, to the train station and to the movie theater. It's unbelievably sexy.

We got there early, and had fun people watching awhile before taking our seats. While there were a surprising number of younger people there last night (it was a sold out show), I always feel that in the lobby of the Lyric, wherever I'm standing, I'm standing directly in the way of a senior citizen with a walker. Like three times last night, we had to dodge one coming RIGHT at us, even though there was ample space on either side...were they aiming to take me out? I don't know. I'll probably try to kill people with my walker when I'm old, too. So I can understand.

The other thing I love is that lots of the ladies came out in full Butterfly regalia. Asian-inspired garb was out in full force, while some chose to honor the occaision with a tasteful butterfly lapel pin, to match their butterfly-printed skirts to match their butterfly-printed tops and butterfly shoes. Oh my. It was really something. I didn't see anyone in a kimono, though, so that was too bad.

We finally settled in, and read everyone's bios and the synopsis again. The the first act started, and it was a bit underwhelming, despite the fact that I loved the production from the start...the problem was, I think, the tenor. Ohhhh that we could have had that Palombi fellow back again to sing Pinkerton. The opera would have had no trouble at all getting off to an exciting start. Although I think that the first act is tough no matter how good the tenor, because the idea that a girl would change her religion, renounce her family, and give her life entirely to a foreign stranger who doesn't seem even marginally sincere, is just hard to make real for a modern audience. Cio-Cio San was played by a really lovely Chinese-American soprano, and she tried, but it wasn't until after intermission that we started to feeeeeel the drama and HEAR the character in her voice.

Oh, but after intermission! When she brought out the kid, I started to cry right away. The projections (no set) were stunning, and really worked for me... the cherry blossom scene! With the little boy scattering the petals!! I only wish the duet between Butterfly and Suzuki had worked a little better, because the music is so beautiful...Suzuki was a hair out of tune, just enough to make it frustrating...but she redeemed herself in the trio with Pinkerton and Sharpless-- who was FANTASTIC. I'll never forget him, John Packard, in the best show I EVER saw in Baltimore-- Dead Man Walking. He sounds great, and he can act.

Butterfly sang so beautifully and with so much character, and although I thought I may have preferred a voice with a little more Italianate "excitement" at first, she totally convinced me in the second act, and through to the end. And oh to have that kind of elegance and grace on stage-- when she took her bows, she was so dignified, without seeming haughty in the least.

It's a little bit difficult to go back to normal life after you see Madama Butterfly. At least for me. I have to readjust. All that emotion and intensity, and now here I am at a desk. Can I be an opera singer now? Please?

1 comment:


Gorgeous post.