Here I am, home. Friday night, free concert in Central Park featuring Mr. Gunn, and here I am, not there. Yep. Suburban temps in the upper 80s (that's like, 28-30c to anyone who thinks in Celsius) combined with high humidity got me to thinking about how grimy I'd be by the time I got up there, so instead we had friends over for pizza. Then a thunderstorm moved through, so on top of feeling icky I'd be soaking wet, and then the train home. Twenty years ago it would have been an adventure. Now I'm like, uh, I'll sweat in my own backyard, thanks.
Actually I knew all week that these friends were coming and I'd be staying in hot/humid/muggy New Jersey.
But enough about that boring stuff. What about yesterday? Abduction!! From the Seraglio!! It was great. Everyone was great. Here are my comments/impressions.
Ok, quickie plot synopsis:
Belmonte and Konstanze are in love.
Pedrillo and Blonde are in love.
Pedrillo is Belmonte's squire/servant/butler whatever.
Blonde is the female version (servant/maid) for Konstanze.
Konstanze, Pedrillo and Blonde have been captured by pirates and sold to a Turkish Pasha. The Pasha is in love with Konstanze.
The Pasha's main guard/overseer is Osmin. He, of course, is in love with Blonde. He is slightly insane and is mean to Pedrillo at all times.
So the opera starts when Belmonte finally arrives to save them, and zany hijinks ensue as they sneak around, get caught and then released.
So now on to the particulars.
Scott Ramsay was Belmonte. WOW. He was great as Romeo and he was even better last night. His voice just floated through the music, light and airy. Some notes he held for so long I thought of that Bugs Bunny cartoon where he has the opera singer holding out the note and turning green, only, Scott made it look easy. And he didn't turn any colors. But click that link because it's pretty funny.
Matthew Lau was Osmin. He was HILARIOUS. In my opinion, he stole the show, with Rachele Gilmore as Blonde right behind/beside him. She was the maid in Die Fleidermaus, and if you remember my post about it, I thought she stole the show then, too. Ok so Osmin was bald with this funny little beard. He's also a bit insane, always shouting about how he's going to torture and kill everyone, but in a funny way. I know these aren't the exact words, but it was a list sort of like, "First you'll be beheaded, then you'll be drowned, then trampled, then burned and then skinned." Beheaded and skinned were first and last, drowned was in there somewhere, but I don't know what else. I'm just guessing at the trampling and burning. His voice was amazing. It's amazing to me that anyone can sing so low. And Rachele Gilmore - she's adorable and has this voice that's clear as a bell, so pretty. She played her character with a British accent. She fell out of the accent every now and then, which didn't surprise me. It's hard to maintain an accent throughout an entire performance. But it didn't take away anything from the performance. Didn't matter to me what kind of accent she had, as long as I could understand her, and I could.
I don't remember the name of the woman who played Konstanze. She was very good, technically. Great voice, really beautiful. But I sort of got this feeling that at times she was singing more like she was giving a recital than participating in an opera with other people. Not every time she sang, just sometimes... it was like she sort of lost the character and just sang to the audience. I mean, they all sing in the direction of the audience of course. But when she looked out at the audience it felt, to me, like she was looking right at everyone. I sat in three different parts of the theater and I felt like she was looking right at me at times. I know she wasn't, of course. But the feeling that she was seeing the audience took away somehow from her acting. It's hard to explain. When she was interacting with her castmates she was invested 100%. Her singing was beautiful and she was also very pretty. The arias were very challenging and she nailed them all. But I did sometimes get that "solo recital" feeling.
It's fun to hear the singers speaking the lines instead of singing recit. They speak them in a sort of singy way, definitely not the way people talk. I really liked the speaking voice (and the singing voice) of the guy who played Pedrillo.
The supers were great. I was pretty much whining, "I could do that!" in my head whenever they were on stage. They wore these beautiful I Dream of Jeannie costumes, but unlike that link they wore bra tops with dangling jingly fringes and see-through gauzy harem pants with the trunks (or whatever that's called) underneath. They wore hats and veils similar to what's in that picture. Each woman was in a different color. The pants were totally see-through.
They came on in the first scene and helped the male watermelon super cut the watermelon. They were on in many other scenes too, including a belly-dance scene at the beginning of Act 2, to an orchestral version of Rondo alla Turca. That Mozart, he sure was clever.
After the performance I decided I might as well go downstairs and say hi. I congratulated Scott in his post-performance sweat-drenched state, then zipped over to the women's dressing room to say hi to one of the supers who was in Romeo with me. She kept telling me how I should have been in it. I know, I know... No control over that... Anyway, they were all taller than me. And it's just as well...a bra top is one thing, but those see-through pants... she said that they were told that you couldn't see through them on stage. Oh no honey, you can see right through them. She also joked that when they first tried on their costumes they were all afraid to leave the dressing room. I think they all looked fabulous.
I'm so glad I went! And I'm so glad I stayed home tonight!