Last night I ventured forth to experience another way of presenting “opera” at the cinema. It was a film called Jonas Kaufmann – An evening with Puccini and was based around a recording of a concert Herr Kaufmann gave at La Scala last year with the Filarmonica della Scala conducted by Jochen Rieder. The full program is here.
I have now received the cinemaHD line ups from the Royal Opera House and the ENO. Basically if you live in Canada you are probably screwed. The baleful effects of the Met’s exclusive with Cineplex Odious are all too apparent. If one compares the ROH ballet line up with opera it’s clear. Whereas you can catch the ballet in just about every major population centre, the opera coverage is, at best, spotty. There’s nothing at all in Quebec and Ontario is represented by four screens in Waterloo, Kingston, Whitby and Orleans. It’s not much better elsewhere. And ENO apparently hasn’t figured out that Canada exists which sucks because I really want to see my favourite crazy lady’s Queen of the Night.
I really wonder about the Met’s motivation. They talk a great game about extending the audience for opera but then put barriers in the way of anything except their own rather boring product. I also wonder why on earth Cineplex agreed to an exclusive. When you pretty much have a monopoly you don’t need to take that shit from the Met. Without Cineplex they are screwed too. So it goes.
The Royal Opera House production of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer finally made it to Toronto yesterday with a showing of the film at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. There areva couple of Toronto connections. The production was created by Tim Albery, although Daniel Dooner directs this revival, and the Senta is sung by Adrianne Pieczonka who was present with her family and introduced the film. The Dutchman, of course, is played by hulking Welshman Bryn Terfel who wasn’t there. He was probably crying into his beer somewhere at Wales coming up short in the Six Nations. Continue reading →
Yesterday, Easter Saturday, I got to see the Royal Opera House production of Wagner’s Parsifal. It was broadcast live to many locations of December 18th last year but hasn’t been seen in Toronto until now. It was very much a three act experience. At the end of the first and longest act I thought we were perhaps seeing greatness in the making. Stephen Langridge’s production concept supported by Alison Chitty’s fairly abstract modern designs were making all kinds of sense to me. At centre stage is a white, semi transparent cube serving as both grail shrine and Amfortas’ hospital room. Within it, various aspects of the back story are shown to us and it comes off as a place of knowledge; perhaps of a much deeper kind than has yet been revealed. This impression is reinforced with the unveiling of the Grail late in the act. It is a young, Christ like boy. The grail ceremony involves Amfortas cutting him to release the blood for the ceremony. There’s a lot of blood letting but it makes sense. We are seeing a very wounded and dysfunctional polity.