Friday, September 9, 2011

Opera 101—The Opera Strikes Back*

In honor of the San Francisco Opera’s gala opening tonight, I thought I should present a quick preview of my own fall season. This is my second season exploring the world of opera after years of restricting myself to symphony and ballet subscriptions, so I’m still learning about this incredible art form (hence the “Opera 101” in the titles of these posts).

Last year, La Maratonista and I saw The Marriage of Figaro, Aida, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Madama Butterfly. This year, we are again mostly sticking with the popular classics (Turandot, Don Giovanni, Carmen), although our subscription also includes tickets for one star turn (Renée Fleming in Lucrezia Borgia) as well as Nixon in China in the summer season. I would have loved to include The Magic Flute instead, but, unfortunately, this season’s production is in English—I’m no fan of German, but that’s just wrong like a wrong thing.

 Renée Fleming in Lucrezia Borgia. Photo by Karin Cooper.

I’m really looking forward to all of our selections, although, trolling the opera website for photos, I especially loved the sets for Don Giovanni; however, since it’s a new production, I’m not sure that’s what we’ll be seeing.

The graveyard set for Don Giovanni

Carmen is the only one of these operas that I know well, but, as usual, I will be obsessively listening to all of them beforehand, except for Lucrezia Borgia, which was not available at either the library or Netflix. So, I guess that will be another experiment in going into an opera cold. At least with Cyrano de Bergerac, I really knew the story. And it was in French.

Kate Aldrich in the Met's production of Carmen

By the way, if you are local, but can’t get out to the War Memorial Opera House, you can also experience the San Francisco Opera in high definition on Thursdays on KQED (channel 9). Earlier this month was La Bohème and last night was Lucia di Lammermoor. Still to come are Tosca and L’Elisir d’amore. Of course, watching these only makes me wish I had started doing this when I first moved here!

*Despite Lucasfilm now being a client, I am not contractually obligated to periodically reference Star Wars movies in my blogs. I just do it anyway because they’re awesome. 


John Marcher said...

Hi Sylvie-

I wanted to let you know there are a few recordings of Lucrezia Borgia available on MOG.

Sylvie said...

Sadly, I have been in the wilds of Wyoming and likely won't have time to check that out before Monday.