Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Two years have passed since my last attempt at blogging. I noticed that the post THE NEW YORK FOUR from February 2010 had not even been posted so I did that yesterday. It remains unfinished but so did many a great opera or symphony. In reading my blog I also noticed that there are a few occasions on which I had hoped to post additional information but that did not eventuate. If I continue in this manner I won't be making promises. But most importantly, I actually really enjoyed reading my own people say that?

After The New York Four
In the intervening two years I have attended a staggering 106 opera performances. I don't say 106 operas as there are occasions which include a double or triple bill. I was back in New York in October of that year (2010) and saw BORIS GODUNOV and THE TALES OF HOFFMANN. What was memorable about this visit was being in New York and hearing the news of the death of Dame Joan Sutherland just prior to the evening's performance of THE TALES OF HOFFFMANN. The Metropolitan Opera dedicated that evening's performance to her extraordinary life and the three roles she sang in the this opera at the Met.

In 2011 I visited New York in February, seeing three operas at the Lincoln Center (DON PASQUALE, NIXON IN CHINA and IPHIGENE EN TAURIDE) as well as Met-Julliard production of THE BARTERED BRIDE. I was in New York again in October to see ANNA BOLENA, THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, NABUCCO and DON GIOVANNI, all at the Lincoln Center. To conclude the year I was lucky to have a work trip that took me to New York, seeing FAUST on 23rd December.

I have just returned from a 4 week trip to the States and this time in New York I saw THE ELIXIR OF LOVE, MACBETH and MANON as well as taking a trip out of New York City to a place called Yorktown to see a production of DON PASQUALE by Taconic Opera, a small but enthusiastic and talented company. Since THE NEW YORK FOUR post I have 15 operas in New York alone that have their stories which won't make it to blog.

Still on New York, this last visit in March was a refreshingly new experience for me. I hadn't realized that New York was so emblazoned with blossom during Spring. In any part of Manhattan you could find their fluffy white canopies. The weather was perhaps a little unseasonally warm for March and I took full advantage of it. New York is a star in any season so I hope to be there again during this smaller seasonal window of opportunity.

The year has started particularly and surprisingly well. I've already seen 5 operas at Covent Garden in London, one at the London Coliseum and a production of LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST (1910) by Giacomo Puccini at the Kings Head Theatre in Islington, London. The Kings Head Theatre is really a tradtional pub that happens to have a performance space you access from behind the main bar. It was a complete surprise turning up with two work colleagues who had never been to the opera before. We had planned to get there as early as possible to get a ticket (general admission only) and then find somewhere nearby to get a drink. Of course we didn't have to go far. I was excited since it was the first time I had ever seen this opera. The night also goes down as the first time I have ever been intoxicated at the opera. We had bought a bottle of wine prior to the performance, was able to take that into the theatre and had finished it by interval. One of my colleagues thought it was worth getting another for the the second act so we did and drank that between the two of us as my other more sensible colleague sat with her own drink. It was rather embarrassing but also very amusing when my colleague knocked her glass over and it rattled along the floor. At the conclusion I wanted to meet and get the lead soprano's autograph which I did. I'm sure she hadn't even been complimented as warmly by her mother. My colleague was not shy either and heaven knows what she was saying...there is also a rather humourous photograph with my shirt out and looking not surprisingly like I had a night out at the pub. I love the Royal Opera but this was a night equally enjoyable. I only had found out about this venue and the small company called Opera Up Close weeks earlier via a friend of mine who had saved an article in The Australian for me about opera reaching a younger and wider audience.

There is always going to be much to share wih you from my perspective on the world of opera but it is a matter of getting to the laptop to make the time. Without further ado, I'll post this blog and get back to you after I see TURANDOT (1926) by Giacomo Puccini, the first opera of my subscription to the Melbourne season of Opera Australia and the first opera I am attending this year here.