Thread: Opera Small Talk

          
   
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  1. #826
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I've heard that Syberberg cast a woman as Parsifal in the film...
    Well, yes... and no.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    Well, yes... and no.
    Actually: no . . . and yes.

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Okay, guys, explain.

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    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Okay, guys, explain.
    See 1:45 - 3:30:


    But one doesn't really get what Syberberg did until 10:12:

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    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Wagner is not the only composer that seems to attract Nazi symbols from stage directors

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    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post


    This is a scene from the Bavarian State Opera's new production of Il Trovatore, which has its opening performance today. This shot is from a dress (or undress?) rehearsal, and according to Jonas Kaufmann's unofficial web site, the eldery woman in her birthday suit is supposed to be Manrico's granny who was (according to the libretto) burned at the stake. As the web site owner suggests, one's clothes probably burn up first! (Azucena herself looks awfully young to be Manrico's mama.) In this production, Leonora is blind and wears dark glasses at least part of the time. I'll be curious to read the reviews and find out what the Regisseur's explanation for all of this is.
    For those who want to hear Herr Kaufmann as Manrico and yet not be "distracted" by Py's staging, someone has exactly uploaded something for you to YouTube:

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  13. #834
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    On the real Violetta

  14. #835
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    Oh, thank God! Now I don't have to maintain this unbearable pretense any longer!

  15. #836
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    On the real Violetta
    These facts - and more - are well described in my French edition of La Dame aux Camélias - even sort of point by point (reading the excerpt that the article includes), so, I'm not sure how much real research this lady Julie Kavanagh did; it seems more like reproduction and compilation of these well known facts. I also thought her writing and especially her words in the interview sound a bit superficial and naive.

    ---------

    Here, from Opera Lively's In-Depth file on La Traviata:

    Alexandre Dumas fils’ story is loosely based on the life of his mistress, the prostitute Alphonsine Plessis, who adopted the nom-de-guerre of Marie Duplessis.

    She was born on January 16, 1824 in Nonant (Orne). She moved to Paris at the age of 14 to live with relatives and work at a grocery store. Rapidly she changed jobs twice, until she was spotted by Nollet, a restaurant owner who installed her in 1840 as a kept woman in an apartment at Rue de L’Arcade. Her meteoric climb to fame continues when the same year Agénor, duc de Guiche (then 21 years old – who grew up to become duc de Gramont and Minister of Foreign Affairs under Napoléon III) becomes her lover and launches her in the Parisian demi-monde, encouraging her to change her name to Marie Duplessis.

    The young prostitute then becomes the lover of a large number of Jockey-Club members. In 1842 Guiche sets up an apartment for her at 28, rue du Mont-Thabor and requires her to take classes in various subjects such as etiquette. She becomes the most elegant woman in the Parisian demi-monde, and moves to larger quarters at 22, Rue d’Antin. A noble Russian aged 80, the comte de Stackelberg, takes her under his wing and installs her at the prestigious address of 11, boulevard de la Madeleine.

    We are in 1844, she is 20 years old, and meets for the first time Alexandre Dumas fils. Their liaison ends one year later on August 30, 1845. In November she falls in love with Franz Liszt and has a brief affair with him. On February 21, 1846 she gets married to Edouard de Perregaux in London, but returns to Paris immediately and separates from him.

    She is sick with tuberculosis and goes to Spa, Baden, and Wiesbaden for rest and healing. On October 18, 1846 Alexandre Dumas fils sends her a letter from Madrid. On February 3, 1847 she dies in Paris after three days of agony. The services happen at the Église de la Madeleine, and she is buried at the Montmartre cemetery, 15th division, 4th line. Her assets are auctioned from February 24 to 27 for 89,017 F at the time, grossly equivalent these days to $400,000. Dumas fils composes an eulogy, which he publishes in his book of poems, Péchés de Jeunesse (Youthful Sins).

    And much more: [clicky]
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); July 3rd, 2013 at 03:50 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  16. #837
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

  17. #838
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    I don't stage door. I try to get an invitation to see the artist backstage. When I do, then I go there. When I don't, I head back to the hotel or home. Especially at the Met, the stage door is very crowded so contact with the artist would be incidental and unsatisfactory, while backstage you can actually chat with them. So, either I get the full experience, or I just go away instead of trying to get the more limited experience.

    When I do get an invitation to go backstage, I also don't artist-hop. If I get an invitation from a lesser artist and then over there backstage there is a much more famous figure (which is often the case in a house like the Met), as tempted as I am to stop by and shake hands with the other artist, I don't. I limit myself to meeting the artist who invited me, then I chat a bit, try not to hold him/her for too long (they usually are tired after a demanding performance - and still need to go face the stage door crowd!), and head back to the hotel. At times, the artist who invited me says "do you want to also meet such and such? I can introduce you, come with me" and in this case of course I do go meet the other one. But I never ask them to do so; it only happens if they spontaneously bring it up. This is how, for instance, I met Marilyn Horne at Thomas Hampson's initiative, Paulo Szot at Piotr Beczala's initiative, and Eric Owens at Jay Hunter Morris' initiative.

    So, I'm a rather discreet backstage goer, which helps. This is probably one of the reasons why I keep being able to get more invitations - I do see obnoxious people back there sometimes, and I'm definitely not one of those - you know, these are small worlds; there are only a handful of management companies that represent most of the best known artists; the agents are often there backstage as well with the artists, and if you get an invitation from one of them and misbehave, it will be less likely to get a future one.

    Some houses do a very neat arrangement: they bring *all* artists to a large room (in the business, this room is usually nicknamed the Green Room - regardless of the wall color, LOL) and bring all the fans who got invitations there at the same time (Philadelphia Opera, for example). Then in this case, people do mingle, and go from one artist to the next, not necessarily staying just with the one who issued the invitation, and in this case I do take advantage of the opportunity to meet more artists. Other houses throw true after-opera parties (Santa Fe, Opera Carolina, Piedmont Opera) by invitation, and then it's the best deal, since in this case you can really interact for a long time with all artists. Other houses sell tickets to a meet-the-artist event.

    Particularly good for this is the experience at summer festivals which tend to be more informal and relaxed - for instance, at the Bard SummerScape, after each performance everybody goes to a party that is truly open to whoever wants to attend, no invitation needed (when it's like this, it is usually cash bar) - and then you get to meet the entire cast, the entire production crew, conductor, etc. - everybody goes, and they stay for a long time (up to 1-2 AM, etc.). Lots of fun! There are festivals that do Q&A sessions with all principal artists after the show (e.g. Glimmerglass), open to everybody as well.

    Once you get into the habit of participating in these various modalities of meet-the-artist above, the stage door experience does feel a bit limited.

    This said, I have nothing against those who do stage door, which I find to be a very valid pursuit. It just doesn't work for me. I prefer to try my luck with agents to get an invitation, and if it doesn't happen, then I'll just leave at the end of the show.

    Someone reading this might think - "well, it is easier to get an invitation if you have other reasons to interact professionally with artists and agents" like I do for Opera Lively journalism. Sure. But the thing is, while it obviously helps, it's not the only way. I've seen people get invitations to go backstage just by asking nicely.

    If you look up an artist and find out (through a simple Google Search) who represents the artist for Public Relations (usually you'll find this information in the Contacs section of an artist's web site), write a neat letter or e-mail to the agent, introduce yourself in a way that indicates that you're not a weirdo or a stalker, explain that you are a big fan of such and such and you've been following his/her career, say that you are making a special trip to go see the performance on such and such date specifically because the artist is in it, and add that you would love an opportunity to meet briefly backstage. In many cases, you *will* get an invitation, especially if you write early, before the slots they have for this kind of thing fill up. After all, these people want their artists to be well perceived by the public, and part of their job is to cultivate the artist's relationship with his/her fans. A friendly, accessible artist is more likely to be even more beloved by the public, which does result in more ticket and recordings sales, etc. - so, being open to fans is part of what being a top artist entails, and the person reading your letter, the agent (who gets a percentage of the artist's earnings), does have an interested in facilitating it, rather than blocking it.

    Even big names are often open to this kind of thing - a notorious example was Pavarotti, who looooooved to interact with his fans, and would at times skip official activities demanded of him by the opera house after the performance (such as, going to meet high profile donors), to instead go meet his regular fans. So, my take on this is, you have nothing to lose by trying, and if you succeed, you'll get a much more rewarding experience than waiting for 90 minutes by cold weather at some stage door with 200 other people, for the chance to approach the artist for 15 seconds.

    Some people have a reputation for not being accessible - one notorious current example is Dmitri Hvorostovsky - so I've never even tried to get an invitation from him. But there are those who do receive their fans backstage, so, try it!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  19. #839
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    I don't stage door either. I think it's creepy and invasive.

    Artists are generally much more pleased to find me waiting for them in their darkened hotel room.

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  21. #840
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    I don't stage door either. I think it's creepy and invasive.

    Artists are generally much more pleased to find me waiting for them in their darkened hotel room.
    of either gender, presumably?
    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

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