September 08, 2006

Opera in the opera house

Where I live we have the Royal Opera house. It wasn't royal until a wee while ago, when one of the english princes was living here for a year and he royalified it. Its quite old, a victorian wooden opera house.

For the year we have been here there has been no opera in the opera house, but last night there was a version of Don Pasquale on, which we had booked for a long time ago and had good seats.

I was disappointed to hear it had been translated to english which is a definite snobbery thing. Mind you I generally find translated operas as incomprehensible as the original italian so what is the point. But last night the libretto was a very pleasant surprise - I could understand it, and it didn't grate on the ear. The singers were impressively clear with their diction. And the singing was really good - not too over-powering which is what I generally don't like about opera.

The set was excellent. It was apparently computer printed which was a new experiment, and it worked well. It was sort of cubist, because it had lots of bits of house, so you knew what the house was like, but it wasn't all in order or in the right place, or even all the same room.

But I'm thinking it wasn't all perfect. I don't know the original but I suspect it has a chorus and that things are a bit more logical. Some of the characters last night night had huge changes of mind and opinion and all that in the space of one line. And Don Pasquale is supposed to be a mean and horrible rich man, while I felt a lot of sympathy for him as he was tricked and abused by the youth. The young man was supposed to be a hero but I thought he just looked lazy and selfish. The girl was supposed to be a nice person but she seemed conniving and sly. So the story didn't hang well on the characters.

Great night out though, and I wish that kind of thing happened more often right here.

Posted by Toni at September 8, 2006 08:24 AM