Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This is What I Saw

I already mentioned that last week Alex and I went to see the final dress rehearsal of La Cenerentola, but I never said anything about the performance itself. It was fabulous!! The costumes - so funny! The stepsisters had these huge flattened hoop skirts that had strings in them that, when pulled, raised the sides of the skirts to show their petticoats underneath. In the opening act they had these really cool red wigs, and for the ball scene the wigs were outrageously over the top! They were white and huge. One had a Marge Simpson-esq column sticking straight up - and there was a balloon in it! At one point in the story it gets popped. The other was huge and wide and had a ship, yes, a ship in it. Someone somewhere is very clever to come up with this stuff.

The music - it's Rossini, how can it be bad? It's so clever and... so fast! How can anyone sing Rossini? It sounds impossible.

Everyone in the cast was awesome - especially the woman who played Cenerentola. Leah Wool - I think that's her name. She was adorably cute and made the impossible coloraturas look easy. She was fabulous. She reminded me of Cecilia Bartoli, only (dare I say) better. Smoother, somehow. Of course I still luv Cecilia, but she has to share her throne.

I admit I couldn't give the performance the full attention it deserved because Alex was fidgeting and being restless. Other things I remember are silly, perfectly timed choreography with the music, um... the stepsisters fainting and being dragged offstage by their feet, and one scene where they're all eating spaghetti in rhythm.

So I know it's a sort of lame review, detail-wise, but my overall impression was that of fun, silliness and musical excellence.

Then today - today was the final dress for Merry Widow. After Alex's restlessness at Cenerentola I wasn't sure if I should bring him, but he said he wanted to go. I decided not to "force" him to sit through the whole thing, so we went a little late. We got there I think at the end of Act 1, when someone (since I just walked in I don't know who was who) was convincing Hannah (Jen Aylmer) to dance, and she said she didn't dance, but then he convinced her? I didn't see enough to figure out what was going on. And then the curtain came down at the end of the act. Intermission, orchestra notes... 40 minutes later... Alex is sitting, oh so quietly. I'm thinking, ok, I should have him walk around now so he can sit still when the performance continues. But he was sort of dozing off. So he sat on my lap for the next act. It was great. Hannah had an aria about... oh man I can't remember... like a wood sprite or something? And then the dancers - they were awesome! I love watching professional dancers. They flow like water. The costumes were cute. Then there was a whole lot of dialogue. Alex got bored and fidgety so we left. There was a tv monitor in the lobby so we watched the guys do a silly song-and-dance thing - Alex was laughing out loud. Suddenly he wanted to go back in - so in we went. We saw the prince (I think? again, it's hard to know since we missed the first act) try to figure out who left a fan with "I love you" written on it, and it was all very silly. But about 10 minutes later Alex wanted to leave so we did. The small bit of singing and acting that I did see seemed perfect to me, but what do I know? The singing was beautiful and not only was it all in English, but I could understand everyone without reading the projected titles. We were at the top of the theater and had no problem hearing or understanding anyone's singing or talking. It was cool to hear the characters talk - usually they're singing, right? Just like their singing voices, their speaking voices on stage are smooth and clear - it's hard to explain. Even though they're not singing, their voices have a timbre to them, not quite musical, but ... something. Very pleasant and almost bell-like. Not the same as everyday normal talking. This is frustrating because I'm sure there must be some term or proper way to describe it.

So my impression: Great comedic acting, great singing, great dancing. I'm sorry I couldn't see the entire thing but that's one of the many things about parenthood - you often don't get to do what you want. Ah well, I'm used to that.

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