Saturday, October 16, 2010

Intermission time, and there's a real buzz in the lobby now as people compare impressions. But my first task is to admit an embarrassing mistake I made in my earlier posts: it's Lillian (double "l") Alling (double "l"). Figures. I'm generally such a stickler for double-checking, for making sure I spell names correctly. And the one time I'm going public, I mess up. Repeatedly.

But that's not what you want to hear. You want to know about the music, the costumes, the set.

I'm still sorting out impressions, and I'll admit it took me some time to adjust to the novelty of the English conversation, with so much of the opening in what I think of as recitativo (I'll have to check my opera terminology later). But I was quickly seduced, especially by Judith Forst as the aged Irene, having to give up her beloved cabin in the woods to move to an assisted-care home in the city. It's hard to believe that this is the same woman who I saw not too long ago as Herodias (I hope I've got that right) in Salome -- besides having a stupendous voice, she's a compelling actor. I can't get over how convincingly she captures an old woman's physicality, because I clearly remember the command she brought to the role of Herod's wife.

Wow! this is so distracting, with the crowds milling around us. There's a couple of women standing opposite me: one has a great black-and-white short coat and her friend has a dynamic black-and-white striped skirt. but I was trying to tell you about the music, wasn't I?! I loved Lillian's aria as she surveys the wide new country (funny, I almost wrote "Mimi's"-- oddly, there was a moment when I could hear a track in my ear's memory of Vezina singing whatever the Italian is for "my name is Mimi"-- if I weren't trying to blog live, I'd look that up for you.

There's a wonderful scene featuring the telegraph operators -- and not the kind that work in an office. These are the men who sit in their cabins tapping the messages along to the next station -- the music plays with the tap-tap rhythm of a telegraph, syncopated humour, very clever. Earlier, another scene set in Brooklyn has a group of young men singing a ragtime-y piece as they hit on poor Lillian, who gets directions to the library from a flamboyantly-costumed flapper.

And what else? Oh, how could I forget the guard dogs on stage in the Oakalla prison scene -- that's an opera first for me. . . .

There are those chimes again, and we'll soon have to pack up again and head back to our seats. There's a big secret to be revealed and I'm eager to hear the rest of Irene's story as she fills her son in on Lillian's relationship with his dad. So bye for now -- I'll probably talk to you next tomorrow morning (did I tell you we get to join the party after the show?!


  1. It all sounds so fabulous! I can't wait to read the rest of your impressions and see your pictures.

  2. I love your opera commentary bits. It is almost like sitting next to you, or hearing the kinds of little bits that run through my own head. It sounds fabulous.

  3. Mardel: Don't you sometimes wish you could transcribe all those little bits -- especially if you've got a good inner ear as I do, and I suspect you do as well. It's a rich (if noisy) concert in there!


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