a night at the opera...

Aside from the white knuckle driving up to Newark, NJ in the snow and ice on the NJ Turnpike, surrounded by people who would be better off staying off the damned roads when the weather is anything other than severe clear and dry, the opera last night was good. Not great, but good, very good. It was a small production of Verdi's "Aida", by Teatro Lirico D'Europa, well done by this traveling company on a medium sized stage. This particular piece usually demands spectacle, but some good stage settings and proper lighting went a long way in setting the proper moods, especially in Act 3, which takes place in moonlight. The lighting was very effective and I almost felt as I was eavesdropping on the conversations taking place, rather than in the audience apart from them. A well picked and utilized fifteen piece chorus more than made up for the usual forty or so in a grand production and while the stage settings could almost be described as Opera-Minima, it is refreshing to sometimes experience a familiar work stripped down to the essentials, once you've seen the circus edition.
One thing that I was a bit leery of was the small orchestra, seated in a rather unconventional way, with cellos and brass all mixed in together and seated in a stage wide layout only a few rows deep, but once they got going, this seemed to work rather well and they filled the house with a properly balanced and precisely volumed score.
The performers were talented and carried well, although they seemed a bit tired or bored once in a while, which is one of the dangers of a traveling company. I don't know where in their schedule this performance fell, but I'm thinking that they were either looking forward to getting home or doing something new, or perhaps the weather had them a bit distracted as the house held the curtain a bit to allow late comers a chance to get in and seated. But,all in all, a satisfactory performance by a mostly Russian company. Well met, well met.

Well, off to run some early morning errands, then nothing the rest of the day but sofa and football. Have a wonderful day, friends.

wander with me...



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