Thursday, October 02, 2008
My Ecclesiastical Season
Korngold's 1920 opera, "Die Tote Stadt" is midway through its run at the San Francisco Opera and it's improving as the performances continue (click here to check out the three dates remaining). I watched the first hour of the opera from the top balcony in Standing Room during the third performance on Wednesday evening before throwing on a scary bishop's outfit for Act Two.
The production was designed for Vienna and Salzburg rather than the San Francisco Opera House, and most of the balcony can't see half of what's going on during the surrealistic final two-thirds of the opera because of the stage sight lines. Thankfully, they finally turned on the HD OperaVision screens in the balcony, and you could not only see everything in closeup, but you could hear every instrument in the huge orchestra with bell-like clarity under Donald Runnicles. They were playing out of their minds, beautifully. If you don't believe me, check out Janos Gereben's (click here) and The Opera Tattler's (click here) accounts of the second performance.
For some reason, during this fall season, I'm playing a supernumerary Roman Catholic Bishop, a Russian Religious Pilgrim, a Russian Orthodox Priest, and a Russian Monk. By the end of the fall, I should be either totally anti-clerical or considering holy orders. (Thanks to the superb photographer Mike Harvey and to the SF Opera Production Department for the photos above, none of which are of yours truly.)