Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sing, sing, sing

Like a sky without stars, like a meadow without flowers, such is a soul without love.

I went to my first full opera Saturday - Simon Boccanegra at the Met. Ok, so I wasn't really at the Met, but something equally interesting.
The Met broadcasts live performances of some of its shows to movie theatres across North America in HD. For $26, you can reserve a seat and show up at your local cineplex and see someone like Placido Domingo singing his heart out. In addition, you also get backstage interviews with the performers, plot synopses, and you get to watch them changing the sets behind the curtains - how cool is that? I've listened to parts of a few shows like this on CBC Radio 2, but I'd never seen one. Liz, my opera expert friend, got the tickets and gave me lots of background guidance on the singers and Italian history which helped a lot. I read the plot on the Internet and felt reasonably certain I wouldn't get lost. I didn't know if I would get bored or annoyed with an entire opera, but I'm happy to say that I found it entirely entertaining. The music was lovely, I've heard some bits of Aida, but I'd never heard of this opera before Liz suggested it. The soprano was a bit much, but the baritone and the bass were so smooth and soothing and rich sounding. It's the kind of sound you want to keep in your pocket and bring out when your ears need a hug. Yeah, I know that sounds weird.
It's not the same as going to a live performance (I hope to rectify that soon), but it's a fantastic way to enjoy the music and performance in a way that I think has more mass appeal. It's an inventive idea, I'd love to know who came up with the idea to try it. The only danger might be a drop in ticket sales for local, live opera. My friend told me that next year she's buying tickets for the Met series instead of O de M season seats.
I've never been an opera fan, other than Bugs Bunny. When my son took an interest a couple of years ago I decided that I would make an effort to learn more and listen and find out what entranced him about the music. Since then I've come to appreciate it way more than I used to (although so many of the stories are so freakin' sad!) and when Ben hums something from Carmen in the backseat, I can hum along with him.
I can't wait until he's a bit older and can handle the length of a performance so I can take him. And we can have popcorn!

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