Showing posts with label le comte ory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label le comte ory. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Comte Ory, Take 2

I had no idea when I purchased opera tickets on a hot day in August that the performance date I chose would turn out to be one of the coldest days of the year. Last week’s cold weather (highs in the 20 degrees F) made wardrobe planning a little tricky. How much time would I actually be spending outside? How overheated will I get on a crowded subway, if I’m dressed for the outside weather? Of course I tackled this problem with my usual over-thinking, and ended up in leggings under a long skirt, also a many-layered shirt ensemble that ended up being pretty nice. And, as usual, I wore my hiking shoes, and stashed my heels in my pink purse. Here I am on the train, sneakily putting my feet up on the opposing seat.

I met my friend at Penn Station and we headed uptown on the subway. We had a little time to kill so we puttered around the Met Opera shop, which was amazingly empty. I’ve only ever been there just before an opera, when it’s wall-to-wall people. Then we went to Avery Fisher Hall to use the Secret Public Bathroom. Anyone who is stuck uptown in that area of Manhattan, there is a nice bathroom in AFH open to the public. There’s even a bench and a full-length mirror. So we got ourselves together and switched out of our traveling shoes into our heels for the short walk to the restaurant.

As usual, we went to CafĂ© Fiorello. Don’t know why I always go there. Habit? It seems about as good as any other place in the area, and I do love the seafood. This time we shared a “Seafood Supreme Pizza”

and for dessert, a tiramisu cake:

I’m not that into tiramisu, to be honest, but the cake was nice and light and fluffy. And of course we enjoyed a cocktail – this is a “metropolitan daquari” and was quite yummy.

Next, on to the Met. And guess what? It had snowed during dinner. The sidewalk was a slushy slippery mess! We clung to each other like old ladies as we minced our way across the street.

Our seats were in the last row of the Grand Tier. There are only 7 or 8 rows so it’s not such a big deal…however that didn’t stop us from upgrading ourselves to empty seats directly in front of us in the first row. Here’s the upgraded view:

The soprano – Pretty Yende – was A M A Z I N G. This was her Met debut, filling in for someone who dropped out before rehearsals began, due to illness. As usual, the legato poured out of Juan Diego Florez like honey. And Nathan Gunn was pretty good too, except that he was kind of hard to hear over the orchestra. I’ve read reviews of other things he’s done where people commented on that, but I’d never actually experienced it until then. Anyway, I must admit, it was pretty funny seeing him and JDF dressed as nuns.  You can see some of that here, a few minutes in.

Usually during intermission I like to go out on the Grand Tier balcony but the door was locked... Yeah, that's snow. You can see the fountain all blurry in the background.

At the end of intermission we decided to put our snow-worthy boots on because we knew we'd want to make the mad dash for the subway the moment the curtain calls ended. So we were very stylish, sitting in our fancy clothes and clunky boots. 

People went NUTS at the curtain calls, hooting and hollering for the singers. It was kind of awesome. Everyone left the building with a smile. My friend and I joined the press of people entering the subway. There were so many people, someone had opened the emergency gate and we were herded through with the crowd. Finally made it home at 1am! Long day but totally worth it. Plus, I broke 3 rules!!! 1. Feet on train seat. 2. Upgraded opera seat. 3. Unpaid subway ride. I'm seriously living the rebellious life.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Old Wish (Hopefully) Coming True!

Waaaaay back near the beginning of this blog I wrote about how totally awesome it would be to see Juan Diego Florez and Nathan Gunn in the same opera. Then, it almost happened, until the infamous fishbone incident. That all worked out for the best in the end… and at the time I thought, eventually, EVENTUALLY, they’ll be in something together at the Met. Well, finally, FINALLY, that eventuality has arrived! Or, it will arrive, a year from now. Look! So, the question is, do I go see Le Comte Ory again? Ok. Dumb question. Nathan Gunn and Juan Diego Florez in the same opera. Of course I do. And I drag along as many people as I can!!! Hopefully neither of them will swallow anything throat-scratching.

Other tasty looking picks, for me, include La Traviata with Diana Damrau, and possibly the holiday performance, which next season will be a shortened, English version of Barber of Seville. What are the chances that I can drag Alex to that? He’ll be 8 ½ then. He’s familiar with the opera. He likes it. Hm. It’s a definite possibility.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Comte Ory in Multiples of Three

Saturday was packed with opera! I had a rehearsal for an upcoming Opera Project recital at 3. We got there promptly at 3:00 and I'm proud to say I think I sang pretty well! I did the song twice because my teacher arrived halfway through the first time. Then we all chatted briefly with the director. I told him that we were on our way into NYC to see Le Comte Ory, and who was in it. Well. He told me that the O.P. is planning on doing some sort of benefit next year for some sort of vocal award (can't remember the particulars of any of it) and happens to be an award that both Juan Diego Florez and Joyce DiDonato have won. And there's a slight slight infinitesimal chance that they would actually be at the event. I mean, let's be realistic. It's highly unlikely. Highly. But just the idea that there's even the slightest, less-than-1% chance that they could be there… OH.MY.GOD. Just the idea is leaving me floating in my happy place. And then off Husband and I went to see them in NYC.

We drove in and got there an entire hour before our restaurant reservation. We wandered around a little and then ducked into Bar Boulod for drinks.

The pink drink is some fabulous mixture of blood orange and absinthe. The other is kumquat and I don't recall what kind of alcohol. They were both yum.

Then we went to Rosa Mexicana where I had a mango laden drink and Husband had an uber-fancy margarita. Then he had a pear something with cinnamon simple syrup that I drank most of.

He ended with a glass of "sipping" tequila and I had a coffee with Kahlua, tres leches and Kahlua mousse. And that's just the drinks. The food was YUM. We ended up with their famous guac for two, then we shared a bunch of appetizers as our meal. Everything was delicious, PLUS we had room for dessert: The most scrumptious flan ever, with a scoop of absolutely delectable chocolate mole sorbet that was just TO DIE FOR.

We stumbled across the street to the Met where I bought myself a wind-up Nunzilla that spits fire!!! Look! I also got a Magic Flute flipbook, which Alex at first rejected but then later looked through and now loves.


We got to our seats with plenty of time to hit the restroom.

View from the seats:

And now, the opera itself.

Very loosely, the story line is, the men have gone off to fight in the Crusades. Their wives have vowed to live as widows until they return. The countess isn't married but her brother is one of the crusaders so she decides to live as a widow too. So they're all (allegedly) chaste and in mourning. The Count Ory, who happens to be in love with the countess, but apparently not THAT much, sees this opportunity to help "console" all these lonely women so he runs off with his assistant and comes to the village disguised as an old wise hermit, complete with long hair and a long beard. His assistant totes him as this mystical guy who can grant them blessings, etc. So he comes in and all the women are fawning all over him. Everyone lines up to ask him for blessings. He is all, come back to my hovel with me and I'll comfort and bless you all. Then along comes Isolier, his page. This is a trouser role played by Joyce DiDonato (who tweeted me back during intermission when I tweeted her a photo of my view of the stage!) So of course the hermit/count recognizes the page, but the page doesn't recognize his boss. He too is in love with the countess. The countess has asked for an audience with the hermit because she's so depressed. Isolier suggests that the hermit counsel the countess to fall in love with Isolier to help lift her depression. Isolier also tells the hermit of his idea to sneak into the castle dressed as a nun. So of course the count is all pissed off that Isolier is his rival, and of course he steals his idea. The countess comes, he counsels her, she falls in love with Isolier, there's all this confusion typical of Rossini and then the hermit removes his hair, beard and raggedy shift to reveal that he's actually the count. Everyone is royally pissed off, they chase each other around in circles, etc. End of Act 1.

Zipped out to the balcony for some fresh air:

Act 2 takes place in the Countess' castle. It begins with a terrible thunderstorm, complete with pyrotechnics on stage - they used some sort of arc-creating device like a welding tool to create the lightning, it was really cool. So all the ladies in the castle are freaked by the storm, then there's a knock on the door - it's a bunch of nuns who claim they have been harassed by the count. Except… it IS the count and his knights. We have an absolutely ridiculous scene where the count, dressed as a nun, thanks the countess for saving them… and gets very, very friendly. The countess is like, what the… why is this nun behaving this way… meanwhile… the count's assistant, dressed as a nun, has broken into the wine cellar and brought the nun-knights plenty of bottles. And I have to say that nothing pleased me more than to see Juan Diego Florez dressed in a nun's habit, spinning happily in the middle of the stage, habit flying out. The nuns-knights proceed to get trashed. Every time a woman from the castle came by they pretended to pray, but it was more and more difficult for them the more they had to drink. They sang, they danced, they formed a kick line. It was hilarious.

Then by far the best scene… Isolier gains entrance to the castle. When he learns that a group of nuns is there, he realizes that the count has stolen his idea and it's actually all men. Oh the horror, oh the scandal!! Isolier pledges to protect the Countess. They figure the count will try to sneak into her bed that night so Isolier stays with her. And of course he does, pretending to be the nun and claiming to be scared and unable to sleep. What ensues is confusing and hilarious. He gets into bed with them and somehow (perhaps because he's drunk??) doesn't realize that Isolier is there. So the three of them are pretty much all over each other. Isolier tells the countess (who at this point knows it's the count and not a nun) that if it makes the count happy, why not let him caress her? Yowza baby! It was quite interesting to watch, and watching through binocs gave it an added touch of voyeurism that opera is known for. They were seriously all over each other. Hands on legs, diving under her dress, snarfling each other and so on. It was this bizarre sensual mixture of, are we watching a woman with two guys (Countess, Page and Count) or a guy with two women (Juan Diego, Joyce and Diana)? At the end the husbands return and the count I guess gives up.

The singing was, of course, spectacular. At some points Juan Diego was a bit hard to hear. Diana Damrau… what a treat to hear her sing. Those high notes…WOW!! She seemed to have a little trouble with a few of them but for the most part she was spot on. And Joyce DiDonato…adorable. ADORABLE!

After intermission the people next to us didn't return to their seats so we got to spread out a little. Did they leave or simply move to other empty seats? Who knows…

Here are some videos the Met posted on their YouTube page, taken at the dress rehearsal... including the Menage a trois from act 2. As usual, if the blogger format cuts the video edge, click through to YouTube to see it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Every time I walk into Lincoln Center and see the arches of the Metropolitan Opera House I want to jump around and giggle. Like this. Just the sight of the fountain and those arches fills my stomach with happy butterfly flips.

So even though I wasn’t attending an opera Monday evening, I still got those tummy flips as I entered Lincoln Center to attend a performance of Nathan Gunn and Kelli O’Hara with the NY Philharmonic. The theme: Classic Broadway.

But of course let’s back up a moment. For when does a blog entry of mine ever start with a review of the performance? No no no. We must discuss the entire adventure.

The adventure began the day before the performance. I trekked into NYC to meet Ann for our annual Gunn performance outing. We hopped in a cab downtown to a FABULOUS Greek restaurant called Snack. It was TINY. We got the last available table (there are 5 total) and feasted on grape leaves, skordalia, white anchovies and other goodies:

Then we walked around the village a little (that’s Greenwich Village, for all you out-of-towners) and wandered into the few boutiques that were still open at 8:30 on a Sunday night. I got a FABULOUS selection of rhinestony items, including this: for a Grant Total of $10.

Breakfast in the hotel was on the 33rd (I think) floor, which boasted a lovely view of buses exiting the Lincoln Tunnel:

The next day we wandered around NYC, did some shopping, I found a FABULOUS bargain on a FABULOUS raincoat that actually fits because it’s petite length!

We eventually made our way to Lincoln Center where I got those happy tummy flips as described above. I exchanged my extra Comte Ory tickets for a performance of Rigoletto in May. Had to upgrade to the orchestra. Confirmed frantically via text and telephone that the babysitter was available while I stood there at the box office window. I figure Husband will like Rigoletto - I’m toting it as “Verdi’s Greatest Hits.”

We trotted across the street to Cafe Fiorello where we feasted on the King’s Antipasto:

And finally we made our way to our seats in Row R of Avery Fisher Hall for the performance.

View from my seat:

And then... I got scolded by the usher for taking a photo. Oops. Phone off and into purse.

Confession: I always get a little nervous before a Gunn performance. I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing it’s because there’s been so much drama associated with past performances, both happy and ... not so pleasant... Or perhaps it's simply because I'm excited to be there? Either way, that anxiety quickly passed, and I’m happy to report that none of his entourage crossed my path. The usher scolding was as dramatic as it got. Whew.

Another confession: I’m not really that “into” Broadway tunes. I am, however, “into” hearing beautifully performed music. The concert itself was delightful! The NY Phil is an amazing amazing orchestra. What a treat to hear them play! And the singing... WOW!!! I believe this is the BEST I’ve ever heard Nathan sing, and I’ve seen him perform several times. I don’t know if it’s because he was wearing a microphone, or because it was not opera, or just that he was in top form, or what. His voice was AMAZING. Wait, what’s the word of the blog post? FABULOUS. He was fabulous. Kelli O’Hara has an absolutely beautiful voice too. Clear as a bell. And I took advantage of our proximity to the stage to pay particular attention to her technique - how she pronounced certain consonants and how wide open her mouth was. All thing my voice teacher has been telling me - to not over-pronounce, to open open open wide, to stand still. I realized that I understood the words even though she did not over-pronounce, and in fact, sometimes barely touched or even skipped the consonants completely. In between songs the conductor explained the history and context of the pieces, which was really really nice. He was very personable. It felt like a private conversation rather than a presentation to an audience. We left the theater smiling and feeling good. And not that anyone else’s opinion matters to me, I do want to point out that the NY Times reviewer felt the same way. Plus that's the article to read if you want all the musical details. My favorite line from the review (of course):

Mr. Gunn injected a note of lubricious sleaze into “Wouldn’t You Like to Be on Broadway” from “Street Scene.”

Afterwards, we changed out of our finery and walked around Times Square where we ran into Spiderman! Look! He complimented my hat... then he tried to steal my purse!! Hahaha!!

Next adventure: Comte Ory at the Met!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cashing In and Out

Dropping the big bucks again. First, this Friday- VIP tickets for 30 Seconds to Mars go on sale for their concert right here in My Home State for a show at the end of April. And now that I've done VIP I can never go back. Worth it alone for the early entry to the venue, to secure my spot at the railing. Will Shannon ask me to sing again? I doubt it. On the off chance that he does, I'm probably singing the following month in the Opera Project Birthday concert, so I'll be prepping something. But I don't think that M&G singing experience will ever or can ever be repeated.

Next, the Met announced their 2011-2012 season. And while we will have Nathan Gunn in Billy Budd, I don't think I want to spend money on something disturbing. The budget allows only one opera there next season, so I'm saving my pennies for L'Elisir d'Amore, with Juan Diego Florez and Diana Damrau. Together again! Of course I have lots of time to decide about Billy Budd. It's over a year from now, and even if it sells out (which I don't think it will) there are always tickets available.

Speaking of tickets available, I have extra tickets for Comte Ory at the Met on April 2. Juan Diego Florez !! And Diana Damrau!! And Joyce DiDonato!! Ticket info here. Anyone interested, pop me an email - - if we do this outside StubHub I'll cut the price listed there by 10%! Pass this info on, I'd love to unload these extra tickets to a deserving party!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

...and one more thing...

Don't think I've forgotten that I'm seeing Nathan Gunn from the 4th row later this month at Carnegie in Grapes of Wrath, cuz I haven't. There's just so much other stuff going on in Real Life that it has sort of slipped to the back of my mind. It's coming forward again and I'm getting excited. I'm starting to plan that adventure, including, of course, what to wear. Going with a good friend who has been wanting to see him perform forever. Can't wait!!

And then I'm seeing him yet again in early April, with Banawoman, at the Met. Grand Tier Rear, that's us. I mean, that's where we'll be sitting. We are busy planning that event as well. One thing that's not in the plan is me getting sick. Not that I planned it last time, but you know what I mean. Not that I don't like a little backstage action, mind you, just... not at that price. And not really that type of backstage action. Wait a sec, that sounds wrong. Ha! What I mean by action is, I don't want to develop acupuncture track-marks, thankyouverymuch, plus I'd probably be banned from the Met forever or something if it happened twice in a season.

Did I mention next season yet? Did I mention Nathan in Cosi in the fall and Magic Flute in English at the holidays? And then there's Le Comte Ory in April 2011, with Juan Diego, Diana D and Joyce D???? How fast will those tickets sell out? I guess I know where I'll be at noon on August 15.