About This Blog

I really like theatre, and I like writing and talking about it.

This blog is mostly about my relationship with theatre, the moments that make me fall in love with this art form, and the times when we don't always get along.

I'll be writing about things that I like, that I think are good and interesting and want to share. I will probably also write about things that I don't quite get, or think are wierd. I may also write about things that aren't theatre, strictly speaking, because it's my blog and I can.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

La Fanciulla Del West

I know I promised more Dracula, and I'll get back to the vampires soon, but I wanted to talk about this show before it was too long gone from my memory.

Last week my opera-going companion and I went to the re-broadcast of The Metropolitan Opera's La Fanciulla Del West. We missed the live broadcast due, but this ended up being a good choice. It ran in the evening (as opposed to the early mornings of the live broadcasts), and was therefore much less crowded, and we got to sit wherever we wanted (we arrived late-ish to Don Carlo, and got stuck with the chump seats down in front).

I'm not going to comment too much on the show itself, the Met puts on top-notch work with the biggest stars, and they were performing Puccini's favorite of his own operas, so there's certainly nothing to complain about (ok, well some people complained that Deborah Voight was clearly pacing herself, and was therefore off near the start of the show, but my ear is not skilled enough to comment).

What I did find interesting was the way the relationship between the romantic leads, Minnie and Dick Johnson (Marcello Giordani), grew as the show went on. How many operas are there where the lovers merely catch a glimpse of each other, or in some cases only see a picture of each other, and they're suddenly bonded in this deep and unbreakable love.

In Fanciulla, Dick and Minnie met out on the road a couple weeks before the action of the show. They hit it off, but nothing really came of it. Then he turns up in her saloon, and over the course of the first act they slowly flirt and get to know each other better. Minnie admits that she doesn't think much of herself, but Dick reassures her of what he sees in her: a big, warm heart, and the face of an angel. It was really nice to see a show where the leads have a reason to get together, other than that the show says they must.

My companion and I were amused by the between-act interviews with the cast, conducted by Tosca star Sondra Radvanovsky. The most common question was "is it hard to get into character playing a cowboy"? All these men, especially the Italians, came of age in the era of Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone. Every one of them wanted to be John Wayne as a kid! These guys spend most of their days at work in tight and funny hats--they must be thrilled that their kids finally think they're cool for once!

I also had the very strange experience of getting into an argument about the Transformers movies while at the opera. It started because we were talking about Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (and what theater fan/comic book nerd isn't?) One of the main complaints coming from people who have seen the show (and then tweeted or blogged about it or whatever) is that it's hard to tell why the action is playing out in that particular way. It made me think of my reaction to the recent Transformers films: "Why is winning this fight, and why?" Action should be clear, whether on stage or on film. You can't just have a lot of stuff going on.

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