Monthly Archives: April 2010

Boheme, Sonnambula, Mahler, Freud.

A few weeks ago, I saw the Franco Zeffirelli production of La Boheme twice- once with Anna Netrebko and once without. Suffice it to say, the Netrebko version was way better. The production was incredible, probably the best thing I’ve seen on stage, at least in terms of direction. Everything about it was great.

Other than that, it’s been a slow few weeks for concerts. I saw Bellini’s La Sonnambula, which was basically a good production of a boring opera. Sure, there are some great arias in it, especially at the end, but the story and characters are so bland that I never enjoy it. In addition, the conductor was taking some sections so painfully slow that it was nearly unbearable.

There are some great things coming up this week, though. Tomorrow, I’m seeing the Tokyo String Quartet, which is very exciting. They’re doing some Schubert, Brahms, and Barber. Then, later in the week, is Krystian Zimerman, which should be wonderful. He’s doing an all-Chopin concert. I’ve been watching a video of him doing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on YouTube, it’s pretty great. At 20, he played it better than almost anyone I’ve ever seen or heard. That second movement always gets me- Chopin is arguably my favorite melodist.

Other than music stuff, I’ve been seeing some cool sights, but I guess even those are somewhat music-related. I went to the Kunsthistoriches Museum the other day to see a Mahler exhibit, which was quite interesting. They had a ton of artifacts from his life, including his famous glasses (the ones that sat on his nose), his cabbie hat, and many of his manuscripts from symphonies and lieder. There were also a lot of paintings and sketches from his operas. The exhibit really got into why he was such an innovative conductor, which you don’t usually hear much about.

I also visited the Freud Museum this week. It was exciting to be in his apartment, and to see his office, where he had his famous couch. The couch wasn’t there, but they had pictures up so you could imagine what the room looked like with all his furniture in it. Being in that room was very exciting for me, as I’m very interested in psychology. Cool experience.

Today, I’m just sitting around. I watched Act II of Siegfried this afternoon. Soon, I’m going to do some laundry, and tonight I’m practicing.

Thats all I got right now. I’ll post again soon!

Cheers.

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Prague, Recent Operas.

I’ve been doing so much lately that I haven’t really thought about posting on here. I really should be writing more. Last weekend, I went to Prague, which was really great. The city was beautiful, and the sights were amazing. That being said, the people there were extremely rude to me. I feel like just because I’m an American, I was treated horribly. I guess thats how it works over there. Anyways, it was a wonderful trip, and I have lots of great pictures. I can’t put them on here right now, because I’m using Kamal’s computer (the internet isn’t working on my Apple right now).

In Prague, I had the pleasure of being able to visit the Prague State Opera to see a production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. I really thought it was great. The set production was super, the directing was great, most of the singers were spot-on. The Queen of the Night completely nailed her aria, as did Papageno and Tamino. The guy who played Sarastro wasn’t too great, I didn’t think. However, my opera pallate isn’t as refined as my orchestral pallate, so maybe he was really great and I just didn’t know it.

I’ve seen quite a few great operas in Vienna since I posted last. I saw Die Walkure, which really blew my mind. I would have to say that it’s my favorite opera to date. After seeing it, I watched Das Rheingold and Siegfried on DVD, and plan to complete the cycle in a day or two with Götterdämmerung. Also, while on my Wagner kick, I went to the Staatsoper to see Parsifal, which was pretty unbelievable. The production wasn’t my favorite, it was pretty post-modern at parts. I saw a performance on DVD once where the production was fairly traditional, which I usually prefer. The music in Parsifal, however, is some of the best music ever written. I’ve been listening to the Act I Prelude for the past few days, trying to memorize some of the leitmotifs. Great stuff.
I’ve also seen a few other great productions at the Staatsoper recently. Earlier this week, I saw La Boheme which starred Anna Netrebko and was directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Clearly, it was wonderful. I saw The Elixir of Love, which wasn’t my favorite. I saw La Traviata at the Volksoper, which is a wonderful opera, but I didn’t care for the production. I had a lot of problems with it, but I can’t write too much more because I have to get back in the practice room.
I’ll be on here again soon. Cheers.