Friday, March 13, 2009

The Official Unofficial Review

Before I begin, I feel the need to mention my disclaimer: I do not do a professional musical review. I write about my experience, my perception, my impressions. If you are looking for a professional review that uses musical terms and so on, you are reading the wrong blog.

Ok, now that I've taken care of business...

Day 1:

I got to Penn Station at about 4:15 and met my friend at 4:30. We walked uptown, took a few photos

and then made our way to the restaurant. She had made a reservation at the same place I went to back in October before Lucia.We went around the corner from the place, found a little courtyard with benches and went in to change into our heels. I'm sure we weren't the first to do that there and we won't be the last. So we walk in and she jokes with the guys there that she was allowed out for the evening... everyone laughs, we sit. A minute later the maitre d' (I looked that up, that's how it's spelled) came over with two glasses of champagne, "To celebrate being let out for the evening." Nice, huh? So we ordered the 4 veggie, 3 seafood plate from the antipasto bar and of course I got those yummy tiny octopuses. Yum!!!! Tentacles, suckers and all. Perhaps this time the champagne affected my gross-food meter? But I'm sober now and salivating at the thought of those yummy tiny things. Ok moving on, I also ordered the special salad of the day which included caramelized pears and candied pecans. Or maybe it was walnuts. I don't even remember. It was like dessert with mixed greens. I also ordered a drink called a Pear Sidecar, your typical girltini drink with a caramelized pear in it and a cinnamon-coated rim. I should have taken a photo of it. Well now I have an excuse to go back and order it again. During the meal the maitre d' came around again with a tray of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies and he was giving a cookie to each diner. When I say tray, I mean, from the oven, and he was using a spatula. It was odd, sort of, but fabulous. The cookie was scrumptious. Then we hobbled our way across the street and into the Met. Up, up, up the stairs, all the way to the top.

I wrote about the show here. There's really not much more to say. The singing was superb. Sound flows out of Juan Diego Florez like shimmering liquid, like honey. It is unbelievable really, that a person can produce the sounds he produces, yet he does it. He sounded better than I have ever heard him before - in any recording, any live performance, anywhere. He was amazing. Natalie Dessay is like a bird. The setting was confusing and stupid. At points the sound was a little muddy - I wonder if the seat location had anything to do with it? Anyway, I should have saved my money and gotten a score desk ticket.

Afterwards we joined the press of bodies jamming down the stairs and out the door. My friend and I parted, I hopped in a taxi and made my way across town to the apartment of another friend.

Next day my other friend and I hung around, wandered around, hung around some more. We popped in and out of shops and I got this adorable hat - I'll have to post a photo. We hadn't seen each other for like 20 years but we fell immediately back into that easy friendship and conversation as if it had merely been a few weeks. You know... the performances, the fashion, the backstage adventures... they were all fun... but hanging with my friend was really the best part of the weekend. I'm just realizing that now and I am such a dork that I'm actually getting weepy as I type this. Damn hormones. She happens to be pregnant so some of those hormones probably wafted over and entered my bloodstream. Not to make me pregnant (that's not how it works kids) but enough to make me weepy.

Ok... so we hit ourselves with pretty sticks and hopped on the bus to go back across town to Lincoln Center. At Alice Tully Hall there's a new little cafe. We met a fellow blogger there and had a nice little dinner before the performance. My friend didn't have a ticket so she went home and my other dinner companion and I went in. It's really pretty in the theater. I wasn't about to whip out my camera and take a photo, so I whipped out my phone instead and did this self-portrait before the performance. Ok, I'll admit, I wanted to see just how frizzy my hair was at this point. It was Frizzy.

You can see the paneling on the walls - it was really pretty. At some point these black curtain things rolled down over the side walls.

Here is a pre-performance shot from my seat. I was in the 4th row, pretty much right in the middle.

It was a concert staging. There were three or four rows of chairs on the stage for the chorus and principals. Everyone had a looseleaf notebook of the music. Whoever was singing would move forward to the music stand and microphone. They were all formally dressed in tuxedos and gowns.

The performance was great. As you can see from the picture, there was a screen behind the singers, but they didn't go nuts with the pictures - it was subtle and often quite funny. It was obvious that the performers didn't know what was on the screen because when the audience laughed they'd peek behind.

The songs were your sort of catchy generic Broadway type songs with silly clever lyrics. The singing was fab. Nathan was great. In my opinion the woman who played Angela was the best. Her voice was angelic (no pun intended), a beautiful high soprano, clear as a bell, just a delight to listen to. Her name is Anna Christy. I do believe I would go out of my way to see a performance she is in. Everyone was great. The roles are all so silly and they all looked like they were having a blast. One singer played several different characters and just changed his hat each time. There was a narrator who didn't sing but had some great descriptive lines along the way. The whole thing was so well done. I'd never seen a performance in that format and I didn't know how I would like it, but it was just delightful.

Ok so the plot... I'll just copy it from here. Benvenuto Cellini, the great Florentine sculptor, is sentenced to hang, but he is pardoned when the duke realizes that he has not completed a previously commissioned sculpture. Freed, he is able to turn his attention to his favorite model (and object of his affections), Angela. The Duke also is interested in Angela. Thus, Cellini does his best to keep the Duke away from Angela. Meanwhile, he finds he has to keep himself away from the Duchess! At the end of the show, Cellini escapes yet another death sentence by fleeing to Paris.

Yes, your typical mayhem and madness, sneaking around and so on, with catchy tunes and silly lyrics.

I already wrote about the pre and post-show adventures here.

I'm still deciding if I should post the picture or not. Ah, what the heck. Half head and frizzy hair, here we go. For anyone who doubted, here's the photographic evidence that I was there. Proof. And poof - my hair, that is. Poof. So much for anti-frizz curl-enhancing products.


Lilly said...

Anna Christy was also in An American Tragedy. She and Nathan had a cute scene together at the beginning of the opera. She is great!

Maria said...

I'm glad you had a grand adventure and that you reconnected with an old friend.

Lydia said...

Sounds like a great weekend! And great photo! =)

Susan said...

Thanks guys.

Re: the photo - I wasn't going to post it at first for a variety of reasons, but I figured people would want to see it.