Tossing LOL Friday again today for a recap of last night’s Die Zauberflote. Regular LOL Friday format to return next week, assuming I don’t have something else I feel like talking about. We’re going to a do this bullet point style, because I had a rough day yesterday. Thank heavens it was a comic opera and not, say, Tristan und Isolde.
- Vienna-style orchestra seating. Interesting!
- Two TVs set up in the orchestra tier that focused on Marin Alsop’s conducting. I assume so that the vocalists could see her instructions while still facing the audience? They were turned off for awhile, so I’m not 100% sure. Opera people, enlighten me.
- Not being so well-versed in opera and having seen little of it live, I found the dichotomy of the listening experience. The BSO itself, usually at the forefront of my attention, becaming a supporting player I scarcely noticed as I focused on the vocalists. Which I suppose is the way opera is supposed to be — you only notice the musicians if they make a mistake — hence their relegation to the pit. But it’s not how I’ve been accustomed to listening to live music, so it was a different experience for me.
- The girls got pretty dresses and veils that fit their roles; Papageno (
Daniel Chi, I think? they announced him as a replacement and I’m not sureDaniel Cilli) got a vest and feathers in his hair; the rest of the men got… tuxedos. Yes. Because when I bolt off on heroic quests, I always shake out my tuxedo first.
- I really wanted to swap Tamino (Jonathan Boyd) in for Papageno and vice versa. Both were good in their roles, but Tamino was just too… verklempt in his gestures for my taste. I understand that, what with the fainting and all, Tamino is not supposed to be the perfect protagonist, but still, I think he’s supposed to be more amusing in the ridiculous ideal he represents. I found him inherently silly, and that would’ve done well for Papageno.
- By contrast, Papageno performed his funny business very well, but there was a lanky elegance about him that I think would’ve better suited Tamino.
- All the same, he did a great job when he was trying to find a girl to kiss — both in a hanging scene and the part where he came on to Marin Alsop (bahahaha).
- But forget them — I’m throwing in my lot with the Queen of the Night (Mari Moriya). Did she hit those high notes? Yes she did! Although oddly enough I found her lower notes leading up to it a teensy bit inaccurate; nervous anticipation, perhaps? Her three ladies were also pretty fantastic.
- The Three Spirits were repeatedly referred to as boys. Note to costume designers: throwing cummerbunds and caps on what are clearly girls from an anatomical perspective does not turn them into boys.
- I found Monostatos (Peter Joshua Bourroughs) the weakest of the cast — he had a very nice voice but didn’t project like he needed to. I loved his red Chuck-wearing, jump-roping henchmen, though.
- Sarastro (Morris Robinson) could project his voice ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
- Pamina (Emily Albrink) did a good job. That’s all. Next!
- In the immortal words of Tigger: It’s the Narrator! There was an explanatory narrator, since this production was only semi-staged and cut a bit. His name was Tony Tsendeas, and he did a great job with a potentially cheesy role that was essentially made up and included a stint as a hanging tree. Well done, sir.
- “Nein, nein” is funnier than “Ja, ja” when sung. Fact!
So. Yeah. You should go see it at the Meyerhoff this weekend.
Since the TVs were turned off, perhaps there were cuing problems in rehearsal for the parts when they were turned on and the TVs were being used as a crutch. On the other hand, perhaps the TVs were meant to stay on the whole time for some other reason but there was a technical glitch. I’m curious though…