It's strange - I live in "America's Premier Cultural Resort" and have never been to an opera. But, I've finally taken the plunge - sort of. A group of us went to see a filmed version of a live performance of Verdi's "Otello" at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. (First, a quick stop for a cuppa at the Ultraviolet Cafe next door!)
Fortunately, I know the story. I read it in high school, but also directed and performed a modern-day version while at college. Our play had a female lead (Othella) who was a high-powered executive in corporate America, her husband (Desmond), and I was the villanous Iaga, Othella's Administrative Assistant...quite fun.
Knowing the characters and plot line was helpful, as the entire opera was in Italian (but had subtitles). I must say, I don't think I'm really an opera fan. It might make a difference to see a live performance, but I found myself nodding off every now and then!
Here's my layperson's perspective of the show:
- The main characters had fabulous voices and looked their parts.
- The music was heavenly.
- Costumes were gorgeous.
- The sets and lighting were to me the least pleasant, in fact jarring, parts of the performance. The harsh blue lighting, then a switch to harsh yellow, was disconcerting and unbecoming to the performers. And the strange, hard-edged steel and glass stage platform, along with the hard-edged rusted steel buildings stage backdrop, were just so unpleasant. I suppose this was some type of artistic expression that I just didn't understand.
Well, I like to try new things, so I'm glad I went. I think I won't cross "See an opera" off my list of things to do until I see a live one, though.