Monday, 5 December 2011
Night at the Opera
Take last Saturday, spent a delightful evening at the opera. The Met you know....the New York Met. Absolutely gorgeous darlings, the singing was sublime, the sets a revelation and the orchestra - well for once they kept up with the counter tenors.
What can one say about Handel's "Rodelinda, regina de' Longobardi" that hasn't been said before. Last Saturday's performance was electric, there's no other word for - electric, totally electrifying. You may have heard it relayed on the Third Programme, I mean Radio Three don't I. You had to be there to experience the magic, the whole stunning, electrifying performance.
To be honest the plot's a bit thin. Wife of usurped king thinks he's dead. Usurping duke seeks to force king's wife to marry him. Usurped king's sister is in love with the duke who treats her terribly. Of course king's not dead but he's caught and thrown into prison. Wife and sister try to rescue him, as does friend, who's accidentally stabbed by king during the rescue attempt.
In the meantime evil friend and adviser to usurping duke tries all he can to usurp crown from usurping duke who's already usurped it from king. Usurping duke hopes to put his usurping on a proper footing by marrying queen of usurped king, but queen's too smart.
Usurping duke has a guilt trip and thinks about killing himself but doesn't, and falls into a swoon. Along comes evil adviser who seeing his opportunity attempts to kill duke, but is foiled by the king who has escaped.
Fights ensue, king's restored, reunited with wife, Duke realises he loved king's sister all along. Seriously stabbed friend who tried to rescue usurped king recovers miraculously and it all ends wonderfully with hugs and kisses galore.
During all this action there was much singing and repeating( recitativo accompagnato and secco to those of us in the know). Extremely high voices coming out of butch, masculine mouths can at first be a bit unsettling. But you soon get used to it. That and the extremely tinny music. Absolutely no drum and bass with our Handel.
The thing was you were there with the singers on stage, right close up - you could see the hair sticking out of their noses. In High Definition - Live from the Metropolitan Opera House - on the not so Big Screen at the Pheonix, East Finchley, London.
Well you've got to support the arts haven't you.