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Opera Time Again!

Okay, folks, mark your calendars! This Wednesday and Thursday evening I am performing in "An Evening of Opera Scenes" at Brown Hall at New England Conservatory. (Brown Hall is located in the Jordan Hall Building at the intersection of Huntington and Gainsborough. The nearest T stop is Symphony on the Green Line.) The performance starts at 8 p.m. and lasts about an hour.

I am performing in two scenes. Alas, I'm not doing both scenes on either night. <smirk> On Wednesday I will perform the role of Hamlet from Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet. On Thursday it's Belcore (in English translation) from Gaetano Donizetti's The Elixir of Love.

Come both nights! But if you can only make it one night, perhaps the following might help you decide which night you'd prefer to come:

The scene from Hamlet represents the pinnacle of French Romanticism. The music is lush, with richly textured harmonies and constantly changing tempos, dynamics, and key signatures. And if you understand French, you will find the poetry sublime. In this scene Hamlet expresses anger and disillusionment that his mother has married so soon after his father's death, voices the idea that "Frailty [and inconstancy], thy name is woman," then reassures Ophélie that these feelings of his do not apply to her and that she must never doubt his love for her.

Donizetti was a contemporary of Mozart's. This comic scene is light-hearted and quick-paced: think the Italian Gilbert & Sullivan, only not in Italian! In this scene, Belcore convinces his rival, Nemorino, to join the army in order to acquire the twenty scudi necessary to buy another bottle of love elixir, from Dulcamara, that Nemorino thinks will help him win Adina's love.

Since both scenes will be performed each night, a little information about the casts might help. The soprano singing Ophélie opposite my Hamlet is fantastic, a good actor and singer. The other baritone has a smaller voice than I do but has more facility with the high notes. He is perhaps a more expressive singer than I am, but not as good an actor. The soprano who will be singing opposite the other baritone has a very young voice; it is good, but it has a lot of room to develop and won't be as satisfying an Ophélie as the one singing opposite me. Both tenors singing Nemorino are pretty good. I think the one singing opposite my Belcore has a more mature sound (he's in his thirties) and the other tenor has a brighter sound (he's in his twenties). The baritone singing Belcore on Wednesday night is really a lazy tenor (i.e., his technique isn't good enough to sing the high B-flats or Cs, so he sings baritone); thus, his high notes are better than mine, but it's not a very satisfying baritone sound. Plus, he is 20 years old and accordingly immature and has very little sense for comic acting (whereas comic acting is my forté, I think).

I hope this helps. Of course, you could simply come both nights and do a comparative study!

Other scenes being performed are from Cavalli's La Calisto, Puccini's Suor Angelica, Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio, Handel's Giulio Cesare, Pasatieri's Washington Square, and Bernstein's Candide.

I know that, for several of you, opera just isn't your thing. A couple of friends who went to the last Opera Workshop performance told me afterwards that, based on preconceived notions about opera, they did not think they would enjoy the scenes, but that they were surprised how enjoyable opera is when you see it in person, not just hear the music but see the drama, and understand what is going on. I hope that, even if opera isn't your cup of tea, several of you will come out for at least one of the performances. You know I appreciate the support, and you might be surprised by how much you enjoy the performances!

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
treacle_well
Jun. 25th, 2004 01:12 pm (UTC)
The nearest T stop is Symphony on the Green Line

Just for future reference, the Mass Ave stop on the Orange Line is also very close (I think it's actually just as close as Symphony), and certainly more convenient if you happen to already be on the Orange Line.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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