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View Diary: SNLC, Vol. CCCLXVI / SN@TO 17: Francesca da Rimini Edition (42 comments)

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  •  I saw it (4+ / 0-)

    and would say that it was nice, but not outstanding in any way.  I don't think that it is an opera that I will see a second time.   Giordani isn't a great favorite of mine,  but my companion thought he was in good voice today.  Eva-Maria Westbroek's English is so perfect that I, too, was amazed to learn that she is Dutch.  

    What I liked best about the opera was the art direction, the sets, the lovely Maxfield Parrish colors and Art Nouveau designs which flowed so beautifully together.  

    Nice write-up, chingchong.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:43:24 PM PDT

    •  Bernheimer sort of agrees with you on the..... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Youffraita, Radiowalla, shari

      .....quality of the opera, saying that even if it's not first-rate, it's at least first-rate second-rate.  It was also a nice touch from the wardrobe staff person that the costume designers worked in stylistic references to the art movements of the period like Jugendstil and to artists like Gustav Klimt.  (Oh, and thx for the compliment.)

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 09:32:16 PM PDT

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      •  Speaking of opera... (4+ / 0-)

        although not this opera...

        Did you see Tommasini's review of Andre Previn's Streetcar Named Desire?

        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        Even with her star power, the soprano Renée Fleming has never been able to entice the Metropolitan Opera into mounting the work that André Previn wrote especially for her, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” adapted from the Tennessee Williams play, with a libretto by Philip Littell. The San Francisco Opera presented the premiere in 1998, and though audiences over all were excited, the critical reaction was decidedly mixed.

        snip

         The initial criticism of the operatic “Streetcar” was that Mr. Previn’s hybrid score — with hazy Impressionist harmonies, evocations of sultry New Orleans jazz, bursts of agitated angst that recall his work in film, soaring Straussian lyricism, even hints of Berg to convey Blanche’s inner demons — simply did not contribute enough to the drama. That remains its shortcoming, though it was interesting to hear the work performed with the orchestra onstage, where the fine points, richness and variety in Mr. Previn’s instrumental writing came through.

        As an opera composer, when you dare to take on a masterpiece of drama, there are usually just two options. Either you really have something to say about the work that can come through only with music, or you boldly appropriate the play, change it at will and make it your own. Mr. Previn did not really do either.

        Despite all that, he seemed to sorta-kinda like it.

        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

        by Youffraita on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 10:23:54 PM PDT

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        •  just read it (4+ / 0-)

          I'd seen the link before, but hadn't gotten around to reading it.  Generally, Tommasini is somewhat prim in his reviews, rarely reaching for the venom in the inkwell (unlike Martin Bernheimer, for example, or the idiot Norman Lebrecht, who has a particular animus towards the NYT and the Metropolitan Opera, and it seems NYC generally).  So when AT does venture criticism that's more on the negative side, it's with a velvet glove, if anything.

          BTW, I wonder if Previn was at Carnegie Hall for the concert.  He seems quite frail of late, from what little I hear/understand.

          "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

          by chingchongchinaman on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 10:38:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, well, venomous reviews (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chingchongchinaman, shari

            are the most fun to read (and to write).  But I think he's looking for balance -- not to trash anyone.  I think he liked the performances but thinks the opera itself is fatally flawed.

            Still, it was interesting that the audiences liked it when it premiered.  For example:

            If I had been a film critic, not a college student, when Star Wars opened, my review would have been filled with scathing vitriol.  The only actor who gave a nuanced performance played Obi-Wan Kenobi and they killed him off at the beginning!  Everyone else sucked -- talk about hamming it up! (blame the director) and the dialogue -- well, you could have built a bonfire out of it.

            Some of the special effects were fun.

            -- and, obviously, audiences loved it.

            Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

            by Youffraita on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 11:09:14 PM PDT

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            •  that was the general reaction that I recall..... (4+ / 0-)

              ......at the time to Previn's new opera, pretty negative.  Granted, it is always fun to write harshly critical reviews, especially given the low regard in which critics are held (until they like your stuff, of course).

              "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

              by chingchongchinaman on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 11:18:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not sure what you mean, 3CM: (3+ / 0-)

                Negative reviews when it opened, yes, Tommasini makes that quite clear.

                But I'm not sure what you mean by this:

                Granted, it is always fun to write harshly critical reviews, especially given the low regard in which critics are held (until they like your stuff, of course).
                I think there's a clause or phrase missing between the start and end of that.

                Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

                by Youffraita on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 12:45:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  well, it's just that everybody likes to...... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  shari, Youffraita, RiveroftheWest

                  .....ridicule critics as frustrated types who can't create their own original works, and so go around ignorantly trashing the work of "real artists".  There are lots of harsh/snarky remarks by artists of all types about critics over the years.  The catch is that w/o critics to review works, there are then no records of premieres or what people thought at the time, apart from artsy types like Harry Graf Kessler in the late 19th and first part of the 20th centuries who kept diaries.

                  "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

                  by chingchongchinaman on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 09:33:19 AM PDT

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        •  Thanks for the tip on this new opera. (4+ / 0-)

          Although I didn't know about this opera, I can well visualize Renee Fleming as Stella.  

          One comment really stood out for me :  

          "when you dare to take on a masterpiece of drama, there are usually just two options. Either you really have something to say about the work that can come through only with music, or you boldly appropriate the play, change it at will and make it your own.
          I could also apply visually to the filmmakers who appropriate great works of fiction and bring them to the screen.  

          It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

          by Radiowalla on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:43:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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