Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Fat Lady Has Sung

Eugene Onegin - Dress Rehearsal - Canadian Opera Company - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON
By Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, Directed by Marco Arturo Marelli

I tried again. I really tried.

I just don't love Opera (with so far, the sole exception being the production of La Boheme by Baz Luhrman on Broadway). I can appreciate it, but I don't love it. Damnit. I so wanted to be Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

I'm still tempted to see The Barber of Seville if there are even tickets left but I don't really have any inclination at this point to check. Apparently my love for musicals still has yet to evolve into the love for opera. And apparently my newfound discovery of the joys of ballet still doesn't mean I will like its theatre roomate (The National Ballet of Canada and The Canadian Opera Company share the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto).

I would like to point out though that I have no idea whether this production was great or not, but it seemed pretty great to me and saw no reason why it would be bad, but I really have little experience on judging operas so I can't really say. Which brings me to reviewers dilema. How does one review a production of something I wouldn't recommend it again for myself, but that isn't to say it's a poor production. I've just finally accepted that Opera is not my type of show.

The set was fantastically surreal with a tilted room with gigantic doors, a sloped floor and a hilly view of nature that spilled into the room. Very cool, but that may have lied the problem.

Most operas that I've seen are generally some big melodramatic emotional plot with sweeping emotional music. Yet between the highly designed sets, the operatic singing, and the overstretched dialogue (why does it take a whole song to say one thing?), I get emotionally distant from the opera and see it only on an intellectual level. Which I think is the opposite effect it's supposed to have.

And so far, I'm usually like, that's the plot? That's it? Spurned lovers? Jealousy? AGAIN?

I did like Eugene Onegin's second half more, after Onegin has already rejected the simple country girl that had professed her love to him. Liked that his life takes a turn for the worse when he realizes his earlier dismissive mistakes, including accidentally killing his best friend over a fit of jealousy on a woman Onegin wasn't even that interested in (from what I gathered). It was a powerful ending to a beautifully sung piece (particularly Giselle Allen as Tatyana, the spurned country girl turned aristocrat) but still, I was glad it was over by the end.

By the way, there were no fat lady's that actually sung. In fact, the cast were quite young and beautiful, but I think I'm over the Opera at least for a bit. I'm going to take a moratorium for now.

Eugene Onegin - *** (3 stars out of 5) but that's more a grade of my personal enjoyment than it is a critical assessment of the production itself.

The production runs in Toronto on April 2, 10, 12, 15, 18, 24 and 30, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.; April 26 at 4:30 p.m. and April 6 at 2 p.m.

Photos from National Opéra National du Rhin's producation of Eugene Onegin by Alain Kaiser.

No comments:

International Jock Crocs, Inc. Bare Necessities>