I think Neef has been playing a different game than Canadian opera fans. He was making the COC a new hub in the international opera scene, and we were loving the big gets onstage.
This was a piece that did not feel as though it existed musically as a complete score but more so in the gathering of people together, in the physicality of the performance space, and in the unknowable magic that occurs in the moment of performance itself.
This aria is a ballad to Queen Mab, a mysterious fairy creature that gets into one's dreams; it's a breathless bit of excitement that sets up Mercutio as Roméo's outgoing, affable friend, so when he meets his end later in the opera, the loss sinks in deeply.
How do you stage something that is so static in tableau and also has so few characters? And more to the point, how does a company stage it in a time when theaters are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
I don't live in the vast world of opera, anymore, and it's fucking sad. I haven't had one of those heart-racing experiences at a live show since February. I haven't had that happy, vibrating commute home in the magical night-time after seeing something incredible; it's been a long time since I've felt the relief of taking off high heels at the end of the night, or placed those heels gently back on their shelf, for next time.
Renée Fleming knows her audience, or in this case, the lack of one. Creating a sense of intimate occasion in the elegant music salon at Dumbarton Oaks, a Georgetown estate with a musical pedigree of its own, Fleming made her contribution to the Metropolitan Opera's MET Stars Live streaming concert series feel like a musical get-together.
Through the years the original Broadway cast recording, abridged as it is to fit the time limitations of a single “long-playing” vinyl disk, has remained the pinnacle of its major recordings. The soundtrack of the hugely successful film recruited legions of fans plus a few detractors, Bernstein among them, who found it overblown.
With no performances scheduled in the United States scheduled for the next six months will there still be an audience? I think so, and I hope so. Cautious performances like those put on by Northern Lights are essential to keeping the spirit of opera alive in the United States. Let us hope for more innovation and live music making in the coming months.
The premiere viewing of Grindr (and other conce rns) will feature Act 1: An Annotated Sing Through, where you can catch "unforgettably naughty scenes and arias" from the opera's first act, along with some delightful commentary on topics like opera development and queer hook-up culture. It's a combination of live and pre-recorded material.
FGO's production from 2018 stars Ana María Martínez as Florencia, the Brazilian soprano journeying home via the Amazon river; amid the storms and cholera outbreaks, Florencia and her fellow passengers travel into a murkey combination of fantasy and reality.