Saturday, March 22, 2008

La Folle Journée


I had planned on showing my Music 101 class Ingmar Bergman's wonderful film of The Magic Flute next week in our section on classical opera, but after hearing the "recognition" sextet from Act III of Le Nozze di Figaro, my students wanted more. Preparing for next week's classes, when I'll show the opera, I recall the many performances of Figaro that I attended at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1990s. It was customary for us young freelance singers to buy $25 tickets in Family Circle, to train our opera glasses around the upper-tier audience before the chandeliers ascended and the curtain rose to see what friends, colleagues, and rivals were in attendance, and (if you were a soprano, or the boyfriend or husband of one) to leave after Susanna sang her fourth-act aria, "Deh vieni, non tardar," because it's a long opera, and we had to be at our temp jobs in the morning.

6 comments:

Roseanne said...

You know, the first opera I ever saw was a requirement for my Music 101 class. I sat in the Family Circle and watched Madame Butterfly while trying simultaneously to read every word in the paper libretto. I was surprised by how much I liked it.

Subsequently, my grandmother used to take the bus to NYC to take me to the opera several times a year, and she bought the premium orchestra seats and took me out for an expensive meal at Fiorello's. So I saw La Boheme, Carmen, Tosca, Porgy and Bess, Hansel and Gretel, and a few others until she got too frail to keep coming.

I really wanted to see The Marriage of Figaro because I knew the play and because I sang Cherubino as an exercise...but somehow it never happened.

Boy, I really miss those operas with my grandmother...

Pentimento said...

Maybe you can get a sitter and come to my class next week!

Maclin Horton said...

Oh man, I love that Bergman film. I saw it for the first time only a year or so ago, and can't remember now whether I posted something on my blog about it or just thought about doing so, but it came after watching a most unsatisfactory video Ring and so was doubly impressive.

Pentimento said...

I think Bergman was a great opera director. I love the way that the singers' gestures seem to come right out of the music, as if the music is emanating from them.

Tertium Quid said...

I wish I had taken Music 101 from someone like you. My instructor was OK, but music should shake you with a dramatic reminder that you are alive!

Pentimento said...

I agree!