Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Met at the Movies

Liudmyla Monastyrska as Aida - left

Some genes are very strong: although I dissed my mother for singing opera as she did her housework in case someone would hear, I later came to love the art myself, joining a choir at University which performed annual operas in conjunction with the London Opera Centre, who sent their young students up to Scotland to perform the main roles for us. Hence I met my first husband, a wonderful baritone, during our run of William Tell. We divorced after two amazing years in Israel (one of which included the Yom Kippur War of September 1975). He is now a huzzan in New York, married with two grown-up daughters (we met again after 35 years of silence - guess where? - on Facebook, of course). We have moved on...
But I still love opera, so when our local cinema nouveau decided to run a series of operas, filmed live at the Met. I went to see 'Aida', dreaming of live elephants on stage and a chorus of hundreds.  There weren't elephants, but there were horses and there were definitely hundreds of people on stage. Interestingly, watching the film was like actually being in the theater, as there were two intervals of 20 minutes, during which we were given a comprehensive tour backstage, shown all the scene changes and treated to interviews with the soloists.  The soprano, a rather strapping young woman from the Ukraine, sang like an angel, but one had to definitely suspend disbelief when it came to the love scenes when she towered over the little Italian tenor, who clearly (in close-up) was finding it difficult to believe himself in love with her.  That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will go to see others as it is not on the cards that I shall ever make it to New York.  I was just a bit disappointed though to see that no-one dressed up to go to this magnificent theater, perhaps because it was a Saturday matinee. Perhaps the cost of the tickets would mean that you couldn't afford to buy an outfit. I can't wait for them to do "The Marriage of Figaro". Mozart's music is just sublime and my favourite by far.


  1. I was forced to go see the Marriage of Figaro in 1969 for a music appreciation class I had to take at college. I bought two tickets and could not find one friend that would go with me, so not only did I have to sit through several hours of misery but I did so alone at twice the cost!

    As you may guess I am not a fan, although I do have a weakness for Kiri Te Kananwa's arias. I love many of the orchestral suites from operas but the singing is lost on me.

    Lest you think me a total Philistine, I am rather fond of the choral work in Beethoven's 9th and Mahler's Symphony #2, The Resurrection.

  2. Been to Mahler concert - huge and magnificent orchestra. Very exciting.

  3. I have just found your blog and must say how much I enjoyed reading it.There is a certain candour in your words that is very appealing. So sorry for the loss of your friend, I can remember those feelings so well when I lost my daughter. Life is not fair and very hard to swallow some times in order to move forward.