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.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Favorite Things- Opera

For fun, I thought I would post some of my favorite opera video clips from YouTube. They're always the first ones I go to. I think everyone finds a version of a song from a show they love, and can't imagine them being done any other way. That's what these are for me.

First we have Joyce DiDonato and Peter Mattei singing the duet "Dunque io Son" from The Barber of Seville, directed by Bartlett Scher for the Metropolitan Opera. The two parts are perfectly balanced, and I love their fun, playful chemistry.

This is from the same production-- "La Callunia" sung by John Relyea. I know it's unusual to enjoy a villainous aria so much, but I love the way the whole song builds from a "little whisper" to "the roar of a cannon".

So, I was surfing channels one day, and I happened across PBS at exactly the point in the show where this clip starts. I kept watching because I loved the old-timey carnival style and tailored suits. Then Kathleen Kim entered and sang The Doll Aria, and blew me away. She has the most amazing precision and clarity. The opera is Les Contes D'Hoffman by Jacques Offenbach, also directed by Bartlett Scher for the Met. The aria itself starts at (5:00), but I recommend watching the whole thing.

Now, the first opera I ever saw when I was a kid was Mozart's The Magic Flute. It was one my grandmother often sung, and I found a version that had run on PBS that I liked a lot. I think that also inspired me to learn German later in life. Papageno was always my favorite character, and as I've mentioned before, I love Simon Keenlyside. He did a great version for Covent Garden where he played Papageno as more of a sad-sack character than the goofy comic relief.

And of course, what is The Magic Flute without the most impressive aria in opera? This version of the Queen of the Night's aria is from the same production, and is undoubtedly my favorite interpretation. Diana Damrau plays the role with the most incredible drama and intensity, but also nuance, that I've ever seen. There's some German dialogue at the start of the clip, and the aria begins at about (2:10)

Well, that was a fun excuse to watch some of my favorite performances again. I hope you liked them, too!

1 comment:

  1. I'm knocked out by this Queen of the Night: lethal-seeming intensity, with the aria spilling out like its a force of nature instead of a clench of the pelvic floor. She totally owns that high F, and it seems like there's an equally easy G available if needed. The costume was terrific too, like something from the X-men...