Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lucia di Lammermoor

First, Lucia. So this was pretty well attended, even at the encore performance. I swung in pretty late and had to sit closer than I like, though I picked the opposite side from the man who talks about knowing the bass-player in the orchestra. I was kind of hoping some people would talk to me, but no. There were some student-types in the audience, too. At intermission, I did step into a conversation about "Milk;" the folks didn't know who he was, or what the film was about, so I enlightened them, and also told them there was an opera, "Harvey Milk." But how could they have missed the movie buzz?

Okay, the host was pretty funny--can't remember her name, but she was last year's Lucia, and she had a quirky and over the top way of introducing the acts. She got a lot of laughs. Since this production was long (over long, maybe) we got interviews of all the stars, and the director, and the stage manager, and the electrician (which I liked--yay, trades!). And all through the intermissions, we got thrilling and sometimes funny views of the set activity backstage. One poor fellow thought he was cranking away at one rolling piece, only to find he wasn't hooked up. "Oh, shit!"

They have the same moor-set from last year, which is so big they have to wheel it outside onto the avenue after the first act, and drive it away. No room backstage. Cast is dressed, I'd say, in turn of the century costume. I thought the look of the set and costumes was good. I wasn't as pleased with Donizetti's music--the overture I liked, but I didn't much care for the arias.

What was interesting was that the tenor who was supposed to sing Edgardo was sick, so we had the third tenor in this role, this season--coming straight form Eugene Onegin. He did a fine job. The fellow who sung Enrico was appropriately slimy. Anna Netrebko did a good job of going mad--and you know, all along I was thinking--she looks like someone I know. And then I remembered, she looks like Gabe, our carpenter from VT Works for Women. Not that Gabe went mad on site--although I wouldn't have blamed her if she did.

There were two intermissions (at 20 minutes a piece) plus all the interviews, and the Placido Domingo retrospective, and "The Audition" trailer, so we didn't get out until 11pm. At the concession counter, the pimply teenager said, dully, "The opera's having another intermission. We'll close the counter when it's over." They must tell the actual Met-goers that the HD performances are longer. So, I'll say this wasn't my favorite opera, but it was one of the first my mom saw, years ago, at a public school music class outing in junior high. She was living in White Plains or Mt. Vernon, and I guess the class went down to the (old) Met a couple times. Of course, we have supertitles now, which is nice, since I haven't read the librettos.

And then, in an unrelated thought-stream, I just got done with my third batch of manuscripts. It was a lot to wade through, this time, since the writing was technically better, but the actual formulation of the studies (or practice concepts, or policy papers) was less than great. The last one I read, after I was done, I felt like the authors had woven a smokescreen of jargon having to do with public health paradigms all around a basically so-so qualitative study of a group of PH nurses. I felt like I was scratching my way through shredded wheat. And it wasn't a bad idea... it just wasn't executed as well as it should have been. Lessons

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