Sunday, December 21, 2008
A Night At The Opera
About ten days ago a friend invited me to see "Tristan und Isolde", the magnum opus by Richard Wagner, which was in repertory at the Metropolitan Opera. The seats were spectacular - center orchestra, a rare treat. I used to do standing room quite a bit, especially when I was in college, and would always get a seat there eventually, but this was different, much different.
I laid out the clothes and joolz that I planned to wear on the bed, which is always an enjoyable part of dressing up to go out. Fortunately, I had some joolz at hand. :) I wore a long velvet skirt, an iridescent red & black silk jacket, a burnout burgundy silk velvet and charmeuse stole that I made years ago, wicked boots and lots of red jewels. Hair and makeup, check. It was tough getting the camera and the opera glasses into the evening bag along with everything else, and I now realize at last that those dainty evening bags of yore are no longer compatible with my lifestyle. I am in need of a slouchy but elegant black velvet bag (that I can stuff discreetly) for fancy nights out. Time to get sewing again!
Anyway, it was a wonderful night. My friend works at the opera house and in fact was working that evening, so we were able to see each other and even had an intermission repast in the staff cafeteria, which is festively decorated. I was attending the opera with his partner, and we were both giddy with the excitement of the evening, the drama involved (more on that in a bit), our magnificent seats and of course, the wonderful music. The opera is five hours long, with two intermissions of a half an hour each. This allows people to grab an overpriced drink or bit of food, get to the restroom, and do whatever else they need to - check their email, whatever.
The secret is out as far as the lower level Ladies' room being the fastest. No longer.
We milled around the lower level, looking at the wonderful photos of opera personalities past & present. There are no intermissions long enough to see all that I'd want to, but I just love the older, theatrical style of portrait photography that was employed 100 years ago.
On the Grand Tier Level, I always check out the vintage costumes in the showcases, admiring the style of decoration of an age gone by.
This evening, the role of Isolde was sung by Waltraud Meier, who flew in from Germany the evening before to sub for the ailing Katarina Dalayman and save the day. It's always a treat to see and hear Ms. Meier and it will probably be the only time that she will ever be heard/seen in this role in this house, enormous as it is. Photos of this event are here. Peter Sieffert, the Tristan, was singing, recovered from a cold that kept him out of a couple of performances. New York City in winter is terrible for singers with all of the colds floating about, and this Tristan production possibly has been cursed, with all of the ins and outs of singers during its run. The run was conducted by Daniel Barenboim, making his house debut at long last. The performance was wonderful...I am aware that there were some moments of off-pitch singing here and there, but for these ears, it was heavenly. Waltraud Meier is a lovely singing actress who really commanded the stage and gave great life to this character. I'm not a fan of this minimalist production by Dieter Dorn, as it is static beyond any meaning of the word, but one can always close one's eyes and just listen when the sights don't agree.
There are more pictures at my Flickr space.