Thursday, October 27, 2005

Opera novice

Before I met E., he use to have season tickets to the San Francisco 49ers’ football games. Gratuitous body shots
He had season tickets for years and saw many of the big games when Joe Montana and Steve Young were the star quarterbacks. The last few years the team has sucked. Two years ago we decided not renew the tickets. Instead we would try opera. We both saw our first operas two and a half years ago when we were on vacation in Vienna and Prague. We were amazed and entranced by the experience. We’ve been to countless musicals and plays but never to an opera. Two years ago this fall we bought tickets to the San Francisco Opera. We signed up for their new Rainbow Series. Although is seems redundant to have “Gay Night at the Opera”. Nevertheless, it is a lot of fun. The opera company has hosted special pre-show talks and private wine & cheese parties. At intermission they served Champagne on the rainbow lit balcony above the Opera House entrance. We’ve received a lot of fun, free swag too: CDs, note cards, extra tickets, etc. It has been great to be courted as new subscribers needing special treatment. It sure beats sitting in the hot sun or pouring rain watching Niners lose.

So far we have been to 10 operas. Listed in the order that we saw them: ranked 1 to 10 where 1=most liked, 10=Least Liked.
4 - Dalibor - Friedrich Smetana, Vienna
7 - Don Giovanni - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Prague5 - La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, Prague8 - La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, San Francisco Opera
1 - Billy Budd - Benjamin Britten, San Francisco Opera (Will at DesignerBlog has a great entry and some hunky pictures of Nathan Gunn who had the lead in the show as “the new, slimmed down, buffed up, frequently stripped to the waist male opera star”.
9 - Le Grand Macabre - Gyorgy Ligeti, San Francisco Opera
6 - Eugene Onegin - Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, San Francisco Opera
3 - Così fan tutte - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, San Francisco Opera
2 - The Italian Girl in Algiers - Gioachino Rossini, San Francisco Opera
10 - Doctor Atomic - John Adams, San Francisco Opera

The last opera on the list, Doctor Atomic, we just saw last weekend. It was a newly commissioned opera. What a disappointment. It is in desperate need of rewrites. The source material is interesting has lots of possibilities. It is the story of the scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, key players of the Manhattan Project and the first atomic bomb. Unfortunately, it was three hours of no action and no melody, just static tableaus of Oppenheimer and the bomb and Minimalist musical soundscapes. The tension consisted of Oppenheimer and the other scientist singing (?) about how bad the weather was.

We have several operas yet to see this season:
Norma, The Force of Destiny, Fidelio, Madama Butterfly, The Maid of Orleans, and The Marriage of Figaro.


ElovesU said...

ooooo..i hate operas...actually never been to one but they seem so boring

greekgaylolita said...

A lot of work,or i shall say opera pleasure is waiting for you:)

Marc said...

I've only had the pleasure of seeing opera once - when I was in law school at Stanford we went to see The Barber of Seville up in SF. I loved it! I think I would love opera even more if I had seats close up to see Nathan Gunn. WOW.

Jeff said...

Ooh, I love going to the opera, especially in San Francisco (though I haven't been there in a while). The War Memorial Opera House is such a beautiful venue; it's a total experience. ;)

Jeff said...

P.S. By the way, your mention of "the new, slimmed down, buffed up, frequently stripped to the waist male opera star" reminded me of Rodney Gilfry, whom I saw as Stanley Kowalski in the world premiere of A Streetcar Named Desire at SF Opera a few years ago. Definitely a hunk.

Alex said...

Never really got into opera but Joe Montana is really cute:)

Chas Ravndal said...

stumbled upon this blog..nice one

Another gay dad said...

It took me 30+ plus years before I liked opera. This is despite liking classiscal music since grade school when I played in band. I also worked for a musical theatre company for 10 years. Until recently, I thought they were boring and I would never like them. Tastes can change.

Houston said...

I agree with you about Dr. Atomic, for the most part. The friend who accompanied me said she liked everything but the singing. The John Donne sonnet was absolutely fantastic. It will go down as one of the best arias ever.

By now you have probably seen Norma. It's one of my favorites strictly for the singing. One of my new blog buddies, Civic Center, is one of the Druid warriors all painted blue. Check out his blog for a bit of background and opera buzz.

I'm surprised that The Italian Girl in Algiers is so high on your list. Must be because of William Burden. Except for his presence on the stage, I could have done without the second act.

Saw Crucifixion at the NCTC this past week-end. It rates right up there with Dr. Atomic. That is to say, I went with such great expectations, only to be sadly disappointed.

If you don't have plans for this coming week-end, let me recommend the San Francisco Choral Society's presentation of Mendelssohn's Elijah at Calvary Presbyterian Church on Fillmore at Jackson Streets in S.F. It's a great piece and the Choral Society is spectacular.

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