I didn’t start out an opera fan, but I definitely love it now. Is it because my mom’s always been a fan, maybe. For me it’s the opportunity to escape to NYC for an afternoon via Regal Cinemas in Bend. I know I’m in a theater and I’m perfectly ok with that. I can still take in the grand opera house and the sounds of the orchestra warming up as I find my seat. During intermission, I look forward to watching the behind the scenes set changes and interviews with the opera singers. Nope not prerecorded, but live interviews right off the stage!
A few seasons ago I watched Juan Diego Flórez in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory as we learned during the live intermission that he’s come straight from the hospital after his first child was born—arriving just 20 minutes before the show started. Wow, and he was fantastic and laugh out loud fun to watch in this comedic opera. Or just this past season when Kristine Opolais sung the role of Mimi in La Boheme after just a few hours of sleep. She was fantastic and I appreciated her performance so much more having this information. And I’ve got to mention Vittorio Grigolo (as Rudulfo) as his singing was absolutely beautiful to listen to in La Boheme (handsome too). These performers are people off the stage and both times I felt like lived the experience as much as anyone in the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC.
The Met’s Live in HD Summer Encores started last week and runs through mid July on Wednesday evenings. Here’s a quick summary of the remaining operas in the 2014 summer series:
La Rondine – June 25
Don’t miss the chance to see Roberto Alagna! He’s fabulous when I saw him in Aida a few years ago.
Opera stars Angela Gheorghiu and Alagna portray Puccini’s star-crossed lovers. Nicholas Joël’s production features elegant and sophisticated art-deco sets that contribute to the dazzling stage picture. Approximate runtime: 2 hours.
Othello – July 9
In Verdi’s retelling of Shakespeare’s towering tragedy, Renée Fleming gives a captivating performance as the innocent Desdemona and Falk Struckmann is thrilling as the villainous Iago. Approximate runtime: 2 hours, 45 minutes.
The Enchanted Island – July 16
This opera is a contemporary take on the 18th-century genre of the pastiche (which celebrates, rather than mocks, the work of art it imitates). This Baroque fantasy brings together some of the greatest arias and ensembles by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, Purcell, and other composers. Plácido Domingo is Neptune and the opera is inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
You don’t want to miss this opera—the costumes and the set design for The Enchanted Island and each Met opera are a large part of what I enjoy at each performance. Approximate runtime: 3 hours, 15 minutes.
Do I know the three ABC’s of Opera (Aida, Boheme and Carmen), the famous arias, and what a big deal it is to hit a high C? No, but I’m starting to.
Regal Cinemas in the Old Mill District is one of many participating theaters nationwide. For more information and tickets, visit FathomEvents
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