Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A golden evening

I had shivers and goosebumps for an hour after the conclusion of last night's performance of Das Rheingold.  

Hesitate to use the word 'perfect evening', but, really, it was.  The house lights dimmed and we waited in perfect darkness for about 20-30 seconds, then the lights came up slowly out of the orchestra pit, heading up up up to the ceiling and perfectly framing Maestro James Levine's trademark Isro at the conductor's stand---I sighed and settled in.  All will be well.  

The orchestra was in prime form, from the opening E-flat, the music built and swelled and shimmered as the scrim went up and revealed the opening underwater scene of the opera.  The set itself quivered and shimmered in rhythm to the orchestra, and then, those Rhinemaidens began to sing.  That's when the goosebumps took off and barely subsided for the next 2-1/2 hours.  Such a lucky bastard I am.

Wagnerian opera is, for me, the height of everything I love about the opera experience.  OK OK, Heil Hitler, let's get that over with....  But, if you can set aside what a horror the man was in his personal life and become immersed, enveloped, and seduced by the genius of lyrics, sound, and set in absolute harmony with each other, that's what at least this opera fan lives for.

I missed James Morris, whose Wotan has been a signature element of the Otto Schenk production for 20 years.  But, illness claimed him for this week's Ring cycle, so we had the lithe and soulful Albert Dohmen as this week's substitute.  He received warm and enthusiastic applause at the curtain call, and well deserved.

And there are 3 more nights to go.  Delicious.

Tonight, my favorite opera of all time---Die Walkure.  I'll gush about this later, but I want to just note that my last Walkure was with my dad at the Lyric in Chicago, and it was a father-son evening I'll always remember.  I'm sure it was his first Wagner, and he was more than a trooper---a wonderful and enthusiastic companion.  Wish he could fly in for this week in NYC.  Next time !

No comments:

Post a Comment