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 ♥