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(I wasn't able to test the links. I think their computer got suspicious of my computer after I tested it once. So do phone if you have problems. Terry)
I have the great fortune to have a good friend who works as a dresser for Broadway shows, the Ballet -- and the San Francisco Opera. She gets two free tickets to the dress rehearsals of the Opera, and she called me in great excitement about Il Trovatore by Verdi, which opens tomorrow Sept.12 at the Opera House. My friend had been hearing the music while she was working backstage, and the singers sounded extraordinary to her.
So I betook myself and a friend who was an opera virgin on Saturday night. My dresser friend was right! It was absolutely wonderful.
Of particular wonder was Angel Blue, below, (I want that name!) as Leonora, which is considered one of the great female opera roles. She sings for 22 consecutive minutes and then at the end has to sing lying down, while she dies. Both of these are considered real feats in the operatic world. But those are just impressive facts. Her ability to communicate deep emotions, and especially her voice -- these are difficult to describe. I really don't know anything about opera, but Blue's voice... again, I am at a loss for words.
Ekaterina Semenchuk was deeply moving as Azucena, the gypsy woman who seeks to avenge the death of her mother, who was burned at the stake as a witch.
In the scene above, Azucena is joined by her beloved son, the Troubador who gives the opera its title. Well, actually, he's NOT her son. He's the son of the old Count and the brother of the young Count, who is his sworn enemy and his rival for the beauteous Leonora. You see, after her mom was murdered, Azucena stole the baby in revenge, but she got him confused with her OWN baby and....
Well, this is opera, folks. I can only say that the storry was thrilling, compelling and worthy of suspending your disbelief.
Verdi's music is just plain gorgeous -- lovely or gripping melodies, duets, trios, arias -- all that great stuff that you don't get in most modern operas, which have scores that could have written by ME, they're so bland. The orchestra was dynamic and never too loud, under the expert leadership of Eun Sun Kim, the new musical director.
IF YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO AN OPERA...
Why not start out at the top?!
IF YOU HATE OPERA...
Well, if you hate this production, you really DO hate opera!
IF YOU'RE FED UP WITH THE BLAND MUSIC OF MOST MODERN OPERAS...
Try the lush, emotional, varied music of Verdi, the greatest of opera composers.