Saturday, July 18, 2015

Nights at the Opera

This has been our week for nights at the opera in Santa Fe.  If you have never been there, it is a beautiful, open-air opera house, with beautiful architecture and wonderful acoustics, and not a bad seat. To the west are the Jemez Mountains, and to the east are the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, so there is not a bad view in any direction.  And arriving just before sunset is also a plus!

On Tuesday, we attended the final dress rehearsal of Salome, and on Friday, we went to Daughter of the Regiment with our good friends Kelley and Robert.  We entered into the fancy tail-gating tradition and enjoyed our evening with good food, good friends, and wonderful music.

As for my reviews, for anyone interested, see them below.  

Tuesday's Strauss was dark, as is the nature of the beast, I suppose.  The staging was strange and still, with lots of writhing, both external and internal, being portrayed.  The beheaded corpse of John the Baptist was not too realistic or ghoulish at first, but the final scenes with Salome and the head were horrifically effective, and a brutal picture of where lust leads-- despite the fact that the libretto keeps referring to it as "love".  Love has nothing to do with this story.  And this production-- story, staging, and music-- is not for the faint of heart. 

There could not be more of a contrast between operas than between Salome and Daughter of the Regiment.  Donizetti's lyrical, almost Gilbert-and-Sullivan style, spoke words, light theme, happy ending, is every way the opposite of the Strauss.  Tenor Alek Shrader did an excellent, apparently effortless job with all those high Cs, and Anna Christy's light voice was delightful, if slightly strained on the highest of high notes. And our friend Richard has two extended violin solos which were just gorgeous, despite the humor on stage during them. It was rollicking and fun!

If you are anywhere around, go to the Santa Fe Opera.  It is a summer experience not to be missed!

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