"Puccini really captured the raw emotionality of a mother. He always wrote his ladies so well but specifically, with Suor Angelica, there's a deep sorrow there that makes it very interesting to portray. Being a mother now, it gives me a new perspective on it. It connects on a deeper level. Frankly it's a very hard aria to get through with dry eyes."
With the first Berg-to-Schubert transition, virtually seamless though that was hardly the primary intent, Welser-Möst made clear that these works, written just over a century apart, were part of a musical continuum.
Gunn portrays a man expecting his first child, and he expresses his excitement and his fears as he takes us through all the stages of the pregnancy – the first ultrasound, the second ultrasound, naming the child, etc.
Their interaction is so believable that we feel as if we are peering through the keyhole of the motel room where they've met for their illicit encounter. We forget we're watching something on a stage.
Suicide has been a frequent topic in opera over the centuries, and usually takes place in the passionate throes of a tragic event. Lang, however, explores the ‘act of taking one’s life’ not as a momentary impulse, but as a personal choice made after a great deal of contemplation.
One audience member commented “If you enjoyed this opera, you weren’t paying attention” and I think that’s bang on. This piece is difficult. From the music, to the staging, to the subject matter, this production is disturbing, unsettling and extremely raw.
There is an unfortunate trend currently in live theater. It’s not clear if the demand is coming from audiences or from theater companies who are either listening to their audiences or to the bottom line of their budgets.
Carmen was born in the wrong century,” says Chaieb. “She’s no queen, she doesn’t come from a family with a lot of money. But Carmen has power and decisiveness. And she is the only character from the beginning to the end of the opera who doesn’t change who she is and how she expresses herself.”
Both The Telephone and The Medium end with an unexpected turn and so the two operas result in a night of surprises.
Najmi’s tender, sensitive reading of Dichterliebe is worth the price of admission all on its own: I dare say that his Dichterliebe might easily rival the performances of some of the great Lieder singers of the 20th century.