Saturday, January 12, 2008

Who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?


Director Adrian Noble calls Macbeth, “the greatest story Verdi ever told.”
The composer’s longstanding affinity for Shakespeare is explored in Noble’s powerful new production of this gripping work, conducted by James Levine. The ferocious couple is portrayed by baritone Željko Lucic in the towering title role and soprano Maria Guleghina as his ruthless wife. Rising star John Relyea and the magnificent René Pape share the role of the doomed Banquo. In later performances, Carlos Alvarez and Lado Ataneli sing the title role, and Andrea Gruber plays Lady Macbeth.

This is the third opera I have attended at Cinemark. I liked it the best.

For one thing it was written by Verdi and I "never met a Verdi I didn't like." for another it was based on Shakespeare's play and I loved running into the familiar quotes from the play. The title of this post is one of them. Another is:

A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
It comes from"
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

And then there are the witches. Not just three. but an entire stage full of them. Absolutely delicious. I really got a charge out of looking at them and their (modern) costumes. Yes, it is costumed in modern dress and set in the 20th century and it worked well. The stark stage with its trees and easily changed (although as we watched backstage - one of the "treats" of going to the movie theater to see the Met - there were an awful lot of people moving scenery. When you think of the number of people who work to put on one of these operas and are in the Chorus wearing costumes and also in the orchestra you realize just how much it must cost to put them on.

Another treat are the interviews - first with conductor James Lavine and then with the stars of the show (and it was kind of fun to hear someone say "crap" from off screen as they dropped something and to see people start to walk through the interview ares, pause after they see what is happening and then back up to get out of camera range.) The little waves from people and the flashing of a "peace" sign were also fun to see.

The Opera was conducted by James (they called him Jimmy) Levine and it is wonderful to watch him direct. When he comes out he leans over the railing and thanks the audience and then turns and starts the music. You don't get to see much of him but what you see you can appreciate.

Speaking of appreciation. The stars who played Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were grand. (It is Grand Opera after all) and their voices blended beautifully. The power with which they sang made it seem effortless but the years of experience and training certainly showed. I felt emotions I haven't felt for years listening to them.

Next up is a Puccini Opera
Manon Lescaut – Puccini
LIVE - Saturday, February 16, 2008 (1:00 pm – Eastern Time)
ENCORE – Sunday, February 17, 2008 (3:00 pm – Eastern Time)
Running time: 3 hours, 41 minutes. 3 intermission

I like Puccini also. It is wonderful to have these events going on here in Ames. There were about 70 people there today. Some of them can't help themselves. They know you should applaud in the opera and so they do even though the performers can't hear them. Some of them also wear wonderful expensive cologne and my senses were taking everything in.

Brother David Baker and his wife attended it also. We decided we would race home to see who could blog about it first. You can access his blog from the list under "Brothers Blogging."
Hugs, j

1 comment:

cathy said...

jay, my dad would have been beside himself at the notion of being able to see the saturday matinees at the met. he listened to them on the radio every saturday when i was a kid. he and my uncles lived for the opera. grammy barry would say in her irish brogue, "i don't know where they get it from. they don't get it from me!"