Thursday, April 02, 2009

La Sonnambula

By Bellini! Okay, in this one, the concept was reworked a bit--from its original locale in the Swiss Alps, to a rehearsal studio for a production of La Sonnambula. The set was quite engaging, especially the tall studio windows, through which you can see New York: raining, sunny, nighttime, or snowing! The soprano, Natalie Dessay (who was the exuberant host of Lucia) was doing some very funny acting in addition to singing, which I gather is her forte. Guess who I also thought stole the show--the Count! (Mr.) Michele Pertusi managed to be sexy, creepy and funny all at the same time. Hoo yeah!

I'm supposed to like Flores, the tenor, I guess, and I did--but I didn't like Elvino, the character. He wasn't very trusting of his true love, eh? And the suitor of the bad-girl innkeeper was faithful all the while! I thought--this is a sort of qualified happy ending. But it did look like the Count got with the mother, which I had foreseen. I'm pretty sure the Count and the mother had a thing going before his self-imposed exile!

The Post gave this a bad review, and reported booing of the director--though I only saw standing ovations, so there! Granted, this staging works great for HD, but probably is difficult to catch in the nosebleeds--but then, so were Salome, and Tosca, when I saw them in the nosebleeds at Moscone, or wherever. And Dessay has an advantage in traditional (non HD) opera, since in the nosebleeds she can pass for 17, but in HD, she looks like an adult. A pretty adult, but still an adult.

I say, rock on Mary Zimmerman! Don't listen to those snobs! I think your direction rocked, considering this is a pretty fluffy, silly lil opera.

I still haven't found a composer who compares with Puccini--Bellini wasn't it. Massenet came close. At home I've heard Gounod and Wagner (Tannhauser, not ring cycle) and liked them, but the music is heavier. Next season they will be doing Turandot (very exciting) and Verdi's Aida among others.

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