Saturday, September 11, 2010
San Francisco Opera Opening 2010
The art of opera attracts fellow eccentrics worldwide quite naturally.
San Francisco Society has seen just about everything at their opera openings over the years, from the four-hour-late curtain when Domingo flew in for "Otello" cross-country in 1983 to the year ACT-UP disrupted the proceedings with yells and whistles during the overture to "Barber of Seville" later in the decade. Those disruptions were nothing, of course, next to the noisy and persistent anti-fur protestors of the 1960s through 1980s.
The Opera House is a place where interesting people can act out fantasies...
...and opening night is where the theatrical focus is mostly on the other side of the footlights, namely the audience.
Drag queens don't look out of place because the entire event is so theatrically exaggerated.
The Opera Tattler (above right) and The Last Chinese Unicorn (above left) certainly understand the concept.
The actual opening night opera tends to be fairly immaterial, a background, and tonight's "Aida" was perfect for the occasion with mostly second-rate singing (Dolora Zajick being the major exception), and idiotic direction. Let's pray it gets better as the run continues.
The best part of "Aida" was the very silly, very bright costumes and production by legendary British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes (above). Since one couldn't take the story or the singers seriously for a second, it was fun watching her visual inventions sliding by.