Saturday, June 18, 2011


There I was - seat 22 front row. And all because a nudge came (thank you nudger), an on-line check just happened to have one ticket available, and I was up close and personal with a fabulous orchestra and a very classic production of a totally sold out oldie but a goodie.

And I was inside the Semperoper (that link provides a list of operas premiered there) thinking about Dutchman, Tannhauser, Salome, Elektra, Arabella.....

I was so overcome with the sound (an ongoing story with this trip I suspect) sitting three seats to the left of the rather handsome, in a bald kind of way, conductor, so immersed in the overture and how good it was, that I completely missed the curtain going up and suddenly I was in some palace where people in the most outrageous costumes, my god this is camp I thought, we're embarking on a dance-a-thon, anything you can dance I can dance better, till the two guys left standing had a final dance off, and I'm not sure who won, or whether it was the dancing that did it, or their other attributes, which were not insignificant, but they had a bit of a tussle then decided to go on a hunt together. Haven't they seen the movie? Don't they know what going hunting together means, especially with those kind of attributes. Anyway, one of them shot the swan which is not good. It seems when you shoot a swan you have to end up marrying it, which puts an end to hunting trips and things.

The swan as a lovely Japanese ballerina who cleverly morphed out a bright light where the 3D video swan landed. She was always the Japanese dancer dancing the swan for me, not really becoming a swan. My Swan Lakes are few and far between these days, but they do go back to Marilyns (Jones, Rowe) and even Kathleens (Gorham) and their swans had arms without elbows, wonderful fluid wing like arms and big strong partners to fly them through the air. The baddie with the black cape was big and strong and the Japanese dancer dancing the swan really got fired up with him, and started smiling a lot (I think I know why, he had very good attributes) but in the end, after heaps of more dance-a-thons, including Russian and Spanish ones, you know that don't you, Team White eventually beat Team Black.

The best bit was the (nearly cliched) four white swan routine which the drag queens do, crossed arms holding, legs doing what legs were never designed to do at great speed. It was fantastic. Seriously, this was extremely good, traditional, and extremely German I felt, based on the highest of musical values, and they've been doing it like this for a long long time. The trumpets were having a great night, and percussion, and string, and woods. It was great music making.

Somewhere it suddenly dawned on me why the music was so good. No one sings. Of course. The orchestra can let rip, nothing to hold back for, and no lousy singing to wreck it all.

Here's the nasty black cape guy with tangled long red curls dashing off after a curtain call. See, I really was in the front.


Smorg said...

Awesome! I'm very envious you got to see a great show in a great (and really beautiful) opera house! :oD

I went to a ballet at Spreckels Theater in San Diego a couple of months ago (Enigma/Carmen) and we had to put up with recorded music piped in via two big speakers flanking the stage. The house wasn't even half full. :o(

wanderer said...

Very sad isn't it Smorg. The spiraling down (and out?) from poor funding is getting scary.