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Thread: The next opera you're going to see

          
   
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  1. #256
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Ah. I just saw the chat. Also an amusing twitter with some clever picture make up (I think it's a joke).

    I hope there are no issues but even if it is a no show from JK, I am very happy to get these tickets.
    You should have a great evening, it's getting rave reviews.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

  2. #257
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Just got back from the Michigan Opera Theater Hansel and Gretel. It was awesome! My son, who liked Alcina a couple weeks ago, thought this production was way better. It was an opera with a puppet show embedded in it. And the sets were amazing. They had trees that moved around on the stage. These trees were like mature trees about 3 feet thick, of course they only had to show the trunk, but foliage hung from overhead. The singing was quite wonderful too. Quoting from some of the comments online,

    The witch is 15 feet tall and is inhabited by a male opera singer that is moving, turning and performing all human gestures while singing. The audience is in awe of the character and the performance. The parents are double human height which gives Hansel & Gretel true size that of children.
    The excellent staging surrounds the excellent singers with visual imagery that expands your experience. Do not miss this production Cancel something else you were going to if necessary - because you will not have this opportunity again in the near (or maybe even the far(future.)
    Here is a bit on what an amazing production this is:

    Fons and Breiwick perform against oversized set pieces that make them seem truly small and vulnerable. All of the other characters, including their parents, are either represented with puppets or performed by singers in augmented costumes that are scaled to complement this illusion. This may be one of the most compelling and artistic bits of stage magic you’ll ever see in the Motor City ...

    Everything in this show is kinetic. In the first act, there is a scene-stealing cat that draws plenty of laughs. Later, as the worried father lights a lamp and tells about the evil child-eating witch who haunts the woods, the shadow he throws against the window curtain ominously shifts to clawed hands and his story is eerily illustrated in a foreshadowing of Act Two. There’s also a mysterious crow that threads together the story from its cheerful opening to the dramatic conclusion, with a macabre twist that the Brothers Grimm would certainly enjoy.

    Even the scenery is animated — the Act Two Witch Ride prelude is performed as the trees close in, shift position, and lower menacing, grasping branches. As Hansel and Gretel curl up together to wait for daylight, a benign old grandfather, The Sandman, sends them into a deep, restful sleep. A host of angels flutter above to guard them through the night, and when day breaks, they are gently awakened by the sylph-like Dew Fairy.

    An article explains the witch in greater detail:

    The Witch. While performed by a live singer, traditionally a male, the character requires an additional three puppeteers to manage the 15 foot costume. Inside, the singer manages everything from the waist up, including an oversized prosthetic face, a huge headdress and arms twice the length of real arms. Three puppeteers manage the bottom, one to work the legs, one to make the costume rise up and down and one to make the whole thing move around.
    Here is a video showing how it was done:


    A fabulous production. This video of opening night reactions interspersed with scenes really sums it up.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  3. Likes Ann Lander (sospiro), Clayton, MAuer liked this post
  4. #258
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    ^^
    That sounds absolutely wonderful and great that your son enjoyed it too.

    Takes courage to stage something as complicated as that because the potential for disaster was huge. That witch is amazing and I hope they produce a DVD. Saying that a DVD would never be able to convey the magic.
    Last edited by Ann Lander (sospiro); April 13th, 2019 at 04:22 AM.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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  6. #259
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    I'm about to go see my 300th opera! (Aggregate of live and recorded performances)

    It's not the Houston Opera, but the Houston Symphony who are closing their season with a semi-staged Bluebeard's Castle. One of my favorite operas.

    It feels special for many reasons, because I have to give credit to the Houston Symphony for my love of this music. Exactly 20 years ago Christoph Eschenbach closed his tenure as music director with Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra which I saw on our local public TV station. I had never heard the piece, and it was a different sound world that I had to know more about. I subscribed the next season and eventually it lead to my love of opera.

    The staging looks like it might be pretty neat, too:


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  8. #260
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Nice. I want to see Bluebeard's castle.

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