"This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affectations glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where I Have Been....The American Flag, We Remember....

I have *surfaced* - albeit briefly...as my "life* at SF Opera prepares for two back-to-back openings.  Tomorrow, our season opener (and a regular crowd pleaser), *Turandot*.  (This opera features an aria most of you - even non-opera goers - knows...."Nessun Dorma"...made famous by the late Luciano Pavarotti.)

Our 2011 *Turandot* had its Final Dress on September 6th.  Actually, it was a bit stunning for me - as I have been *"living"  for two weeks straight - at our second season (and World) premiere of *Heart of a Soldier.  The two operas could not be more different, and at the *Turandot* Final, I felt like I was in a surreal world. full of red, blue-green David Hockney magic....Iréne Theorin, a Swedish soprano is the BEST....yes, the BEST *Turandot* I have ever seen.  High praise, yes, but well deserved.  And.... I must add that our beloved Music Director, Niccola Luisotti, asked for a moment of silence to honour the recent death of his close friend, tenor Salvatore Licitra, dead at 43 after a motorcycle accident. (He was just here two Summers ago, singing in "Fancuilla del West"...) I have fond memories of him - playing Ping-Pong backstage....and after offering to have food brought up to his dressing room during performances, he said, "No, I like coming down to be with everyone"!

 Yesterday, was the Final Dress for *Heart of a Soldier*.  It seems every year, I take one special opera to heart...and this one is it.  I am not by habit, a lover of "modern opera'.....  and of course the subject (well part of it) of 9/11 is still raw and painful to most. I have my own very personal memories of that day.  Yet, from the first piano staging rehearsal - three weeks ago, I was hooked.  A lush, melodic score...well directed by Francesca Zambello (who just directed our unforgettable "Ring"), gorgeous singing.....amazing sets and of course, Koa, the Golden Retriever (see photos from a few posts back).

So, last night - before the opera actually began, we all stood (1,000 of us - including many servicemen - from all branches) - and sang "The Star Spangled Banner"....what an amazing feeling - one could sense the emotion rising and growing from person to person.  The Dress was gorgeous - powerful, draining - yet inspiring.  Saturday, will be the opening...and I must wait to post photos until then.

After the performance, three people sitting behind me, including a Veteran from WWII, stopped me to tell me how much they were moved....and...how accurate the portrayal of real soldiers was.

It has been a glorious few weeks of *Opera* - from traditional to contemporary.  I am pretty drained - emotionally - but also inspired.

More to come....


♥ Robin ♥


  1. Your opera world is so fascinating!

  2. having just watched KJ's video re: a man who rescued 12 from the towers and then died himself, tears come to my eyes as you describe the Heart of A Soldier dress rehearsal. As i read i listen to the Turandot clip and yes of course I do know that. You know, I think it maybe it is good I dont listen to lots of opera as I'd be emotionally wilted all the time! Such BIG emotion. On the other hand, maybe I should listen to opera a bit, as it might open me up, cold emotionless me, to feeling. Although I must say after the video on KJ's blog tears filled my eyes and my heart.

    Be well, Love, Suki

  3. Teri, it is an interesting place to spend time at!


    ♥ Robin ♥

  4. Ah, Suki - I would NEVER think of you as "cold" or "emotionless"...you are, instead, a woman FULL of emotion...it reveals itself in all of your poems, your many facets of art, be it painting or book-binding..... but I "get it" when you say that "emotion" is a powerful thing.... I guess I feel at home in the Operatic World because I am emotional (some would say "too emotional")....but then, that's just me... it seems to me so many people live with their emotions turned off...they don't want to feel much....perhaps it's the times we live in....but it's not for me.... and I don't think it's for you, either. Nor for most of our blogging friends.... art, in any form, is a lightning rod for emotion....don't be afraid to reach out and grab it!

    Love to you and Bibs....


    ♥ Robin ♥

  5. Sounds like a very powerful experience.

  6. Hi CS.... it was - you would have been moved too...speaking as one sensitive, emotional woman to another.

    Hugs to you,

    ♥ Robin ♥

  7. what a great description of all this and how nice to know how wonderful the last few weeks have been for you. it all sounds like such a high.

    well, how did it go? i'll bet incredible, yes?


  8. How wonderful to hear Pavarotti sing this. Thank you.

    I think I'd be a dishrag if I saw the opera about 9/11 and that amazing hero. I can't wait to hear the reviews about it.

    You're in the thick of it again! I'm happy it keeps you busy but it would be so wonderful (and deserved) if they hired you. Just saying ;)

    love and hugs,

  9. My oh my how emotional your last weeks must have been! But I bet inspirational as well.

    Hugs from me!