Friday, October 16, 2015

Le Nozze di Figaro

I indulgently watched the nearly four-hour-long opera Le Nozze di Figaro last night, a production by Opera Zurich, as broadcast in a comfortable theater in Paris. It was fun, as always, the jokes funny and the musical jokes precise (thanks, Mozart!) and beautifully executed.

One really nice thing about watching operas broadcast in movie theaters is that the camera can zoom in much further than my unassisted eyes, so previously-hidden details become visible: tiny facial movements, costuming specifics. Corners of props and the patterns in the wallpaper. It's nice. Also, the movie theater seats are squishy and comfortable, and viewers have fewer compunctions about coughing during the music. (It recently got colder here, so everyone is sniffling and switching to heavier scarves.)

This particular production had a slightly ribald director --- much of the staging was fairly explicit, to my surprise. (I have previously seen only G-rated versions.) Plus the "trapped in the closet" sequence (hah!) featured a rifle being loaded and brandished across the stage, which was unexpected and added a particularly dark and violent edge to the Count's suspicions about who is hiding in the closet. This echoed the violence of stabbing scissors and knives into all of the cardboard boxes onstage in the first scene (one of which, of course, contains mischievous Cherubino).

I've settled into a version of adulthood that I quite like, where the unusual times I am out late on a weeknight, in a crowded venue, sneaking out of work early to wait in line, I am there to watch an opera and I am among the youngest 10 people in the room (by several decades, although kudos to the three <10 acts="" all="" by="" four="" i="" intoxicated="" it="" kids="" made="" only="" sober="" through="" totally="" who="">leitmotifs
 and the neverending escalation of "sua madre?" "sua madre!" "sua madre?" "sua madre!" "sua madre?" "sua madre!" which, once it starts in my brain, never quite reaches the point of musically ripening into the next verse (hint: "sua padre?" etc.) and just continues, forever.

This post's theme word is Apollonian, "serene, harmonious, disciplined, well-balanced." The Apollonian music was matched by the symmetrical staging (with the exception of the odd number of ponies onstage in act IV).

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