Saturday, October 31, 2009

Opera Cleveland: Don Giovanni

One of the funniest things I've seen all year; great music, too.

I don't really get opera sung in Italian -- opera in English is no problem, but I tend to suffer from a case of Sensory Overload with Italian opera. There are so many facets happening simultaneously -- the singing, the music, the surtitles, the scenery and blocking, etc. It's an art form that I'm not really sure how one is supposed to appreciate.

Usually my mind dwells on one of those aspects just long enough that I forget to keep an eye on the super titles and by the time I start paying attention again I am destined to remain lost as to what, exactly, is going on. This was true with last night's performance of Don Giovanni -- but there were enough one-liners that didn't require extensive context that I remained amused. How could you not like Leporello?

I can't say what my specific thoughts were on Mozart going in to this performance, but I have to say that they changed coming out--not so much for the quality or style of music, but I he no longer seems as stiff -- between the self-referential comment about hearing The Marriage of Figaro too often and lines "I will comfort her tears / (Along with 1800 of her peers)" -- makes the 1700s seem so much less oppressive.

I do wish that Opera Cleveland would fly in the board that the surtitles are projected in another 10 feet or so... the distance between the singers and the surtitles is such that it's nearly impossible to keep both in your field of view at the same time, which I think would help in terms of following the story.

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