It has been a few years since I visited the Metropolitan Opera House on the Upper West Side of NYC. For a bit there was just a busy life and raising little kids and then… dum dum dum…. the pandemic. The Met closed last winter and has been dark since. At the time of this writing it is looking really good for a return in September 2021. That’s the plan.
Prior to this interruption in my opera-going I was, at times, a rabid attendee to the greatest (not even an argument, really) opera house on the planet. And I never, not once, took it for granted. Was every production transcendent and inspired? Nah. Every singer on their game each night?… nope. We’re there boo’s by the true opera crazies when the soprano displeased?… uh huh… with some frequency I expect. All that said none of us would have rather been anywhere else in the world on an opera night.
PJDJ takes Lester to the Opera. 🤣
I was all over the map in putting this episode of LTNF together for you. I started with James Levine and was going to, dammit, do a show full of recollections of his musical brilliance. And then I was dissuaded from that (thanks mom!) having dug a bit deeper into his life and legacy. And that left me all at sea on what to do with my first LTNF opera show.
What to do, what to do. And then… well – I just followed my nose. A few hits. Some PJ favs and even a nod to my essay from my Opera class at the University of Michigan (I got an A- on the paper by the way).
Variety, Beauty, Singing
What you will find by listening to this show is… simply… gorgeous. Sumptuous. Extravagant. It’s like listening to an ice cream sunday with absolutely everything on top!
I know this: 90% of us have never been to the opera. 95%? And many have a predisposition against this style of singing for whatever reasons. All good. No problem. I’m not here to tell anyone what to like or listen to. But I do hope that this might inspire one person (or 100) to take that opportunity to see an opera if, in this life, that opportunity ever presents itself. And if you want to really do it right, come to my city for a visit and get yourself to 63rd St. and Broadway. The New York Metropolitan Opera is waiting for you.
One more thing. Did you ever see the movie Breaking Away? Well, o.k. then… forget this opera stuff, go see that movie. Right now. I’ll wait.
OK – now – remember that scene where Dave’s mom shows him her passport in the kitchen? She has never used it to actually travel. In fact she may never go to Europe, or anywhere, with that passport. But she got it anyways… to imagine that trip. To be ready for that magical experience should it ever come to pass. My hope is that this LTNF show about opera might be a passport for someone who will find that they do, indeed, get to The Metropolitan Opera one day. And when they do, they will experience it with just a bit more confidence having listened to samples of what a real opera night sounds like. That is our job today with this show.
Some Images from The Metropolitan Opera
Tracks included in order of appearance.
|Akt I, Introduction||Richard Strauss Leonard Bernstein Wiener Philharmoniker||Der Rosenkavalier||1970|
|O mio babbino caro||Giacomo Puccini London Symphony Orchestra, Kiri Te Kanawa||Gianni Schicchi||1998|
|Ossia Il dissoluto punito||Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Placido Domingo Kathleen Battle||Don Giovanni||1988|
|Act III: Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves||Giuseppi Verdi London Philharmonic Choir||Nabucco||2009|
|Act 1: O mon cher amant, je te jure… Ah! quel diner||Jacques Offenbach New Philharmonia Orchestra Dame Joan Sutherland||La Périchole||2011|
|Act 2: The trees on the mountain||Carlyle Floyd, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Renée Fleming||Susannah||1997|
|Act 2: Ach!||Leos Janacek, Vienna State Opera Chorus, Weiner Philharmoniker Lucia Popp Dalibor Jedlicka||The Cunning Little Vixen (Prihody Lisky Bystrousky)||1981|
|Act I: Ah, quegli occhi… Quale occhio al mondo||Giacomo Puccini, Philharmonia Orchestra, Renata Scotto, Placido Domingo||Tosca||1997|
|GroBmächtige Prinzessin||Richard Strauss Wiener Philharmoniker Kathleen Battle||Ariadne auf Naxos||1985|
I want to share my appreciation for you. For listening with an open mind. For comments and thoughts. For advice and suggestions. I am very pleased to go on these musical journeys each week knowing you are there to appreciate stand out music from inspired musicians.