Category: Uncategorized

OnSiteOpera: thoughts toward a paradigm shift

I had the pleasure of seeing On Site Opera’s Pygmalion at the Trimco Mannequin Showroom on West 25th St. I was sitting among – I would estimate – 75 people for the show that ran under an hour. In my short opera life I have only experienced grand opera in its fullest measure at The Met. I like that too but this was a vibe I could not have anticipated. I can only describe it as…well…personal.

I was an arms reach away from the performers – I could see the sweat on their faces – I could watch them working as they sang and drew bow over string – I observed their bodes rise and fall with breath – heard the clear, pure tones emerging instantaneously from their mouths and instruments washing over me in their freshly made sound waves. It was, ok I’ll admit, not breathtaking but it was sweet and charming and delightful and completely engaging.

I am used to and expect high theatrics from the Met. I go to get sucked into their vortex of awesomeness which sometimes is there and sometimes is not. I am not complaining about the Met. I love the Met & I want it to survive. I am also thrilled to discover an alternative to opera that allows me to be a participant, a witness, an up close and personal element to the performance. As the artists move, I move and I want more.
MMN

Maria Stuarda

To get things started, I have been listening to Maria Stuarda on WQXR all day today – We had the good fortune of seeing said opera at The Metropolitan Opera last week and now to sit in my home listening with a clear picture of what’s occurring on the stage is a true feast of the imagination.

I am slowly learning to appreciate the virtues of Bell Canto and coloratura (not even sure I’m using the terminology correct here.) Suffice to say – as a child I laughed at women who could make their voice waver like a fluttering piece of fabric (fodder for a future blog posting) and I was in slight dread of an evening of “park ‘n bark” but I was to be shamed of my naivete by Joyce DiDonato’s entrancing performance. Words will never be able to reach the heights she brought me to that night, to the degree that I had to remind myself to breath at the end of her arias. As I listen now to the heartbreaking conclusion of this opera playing over the radio I know the Saturday afternoon audience, typically hyper ready to applaud at the drop of a hat, is holding still their hands as Mary Queen of Scotts laments the ending of her life. I think they actually are forgetting they have hands until the opera concludes and that is awesome.