"These singers are also part of a whole team where they have a certain amount of responsibility as section leaders of the Verdi Chorus, and it is up to them to know their music better than anyone else and develop their musicianship."
In short, if this opera causes such a heady discussion about how best to fertilize our soil with culture, philosophy, and the pursuit of authentic enlightenment, it certainly deserves not only the reviews that will surely come up about it, but a whole book of Platonic dialogues as well!
Shady characters aren't new for the affable Finley; before adding Iago, Baron Scarpia (Tosca), and Duke Bluebeard (Bluebeard's Castle) to his repertoire, his career was famously rooted in two of Mozart's most prominent cads, Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni) and Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro).
This production co-produced with Teatro Real, Madrid and Rome Opera is the first return of the opera to the Royal Opera stage in nearly 20 years and welcomes back the incomparable Deborah Warner, who has made a career staging Britten.
This time, it's Rumspringawakening: L'opera ragazzo Amish, and it's definitely a must-see. No spoilers, but you should know that it's by no means safe for work.
You'll also hear soprano/composer Danika Lorèn's curiously titled The Secret Lives of Vegetables, and in a guarantee for laughs, the song cycle by Toronto favourite Peter Tiefenbach, Chansons de mon placard.
So confident was I that I almost took it for granted; so, when Mahler's music began, it was as though it dragged me by the nape of my neck through an emotional rollercoaster I didn't know I needed.
"It's like when you meet a love for the first time and for the first two months it's ecstatic love. That's what I need to do with my music and with roles; to have that spark at all times because it's what refreshes me."
The plot is rather fantastical even compared to some of Strauss' prior works, to the point that I would almost be tempted to call it hallucinogenic: Helen and Menelaus find themselves washed up on an island where a sorceress enchants Menelaus to fall in love with Helen all over again.
"Getting my hands dirty planting the earth, tending to the land with a chainsaw, baking and brewing, reading, and maybe driving up the Highway 1 coastline will ultimately blow out any cobwebs. Also, long walks and hikes really get my ideas flowing."