Monday, September 22, 2008

Figlia di "Simon Boccanegra"

It's too bad that mainstream critics have to review the opening night performances at the San Francisco Opera because usually operas get much better (and occasionally worse) during their month-long run.

A case in point is the current production of Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra," which I've seen in three different performances now, starting with the drunken, dreadful opening night crowd and returning last Wednesday the 17th when Ana Maria Martinez was singing the main role of Amelia instead of Barbara Frittoli, and she was good but not exciting enough to make me want to stay for the last act.

I didn't mean to go to the Sunday matinee on the 21st, but thought I'd take a quick peek during a backstage supernumerary bake sale, and was blown away by Hvorotovsky and Frittoli during their padre/figlia duet.

I ended up watching the entire opera all over again, because the production and the musicians had finally gelled in that alchemical way that is the reason we all go to live theater, and the old lady Sunday matinee audience was fully with it. It was a great performance.

There are two more left, on Wednesday the 24th at 7:30 pm and Saturday the 27th at 8:00 pm. I can't promise it will be as good as Sunday, but it might even be better.

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