Thursday, September 12, 2013
Mephistopheles at the SF Opera
Yes, that's me. I am getting ready to pull a huge float across the stage of the San Francisco Opera House which is topped by a devil tormenting a naked man and woman in a steaming pot of water in Hell. The tricky part is not running over any choristers or stiltwalkers who are happily enjoying themselves at a Kermesse Carnival in medieval Germany. According to Wikipedia, "Arguably the first kermesse was an annual parade to mark the events of 1370 (some sources say 1369) in Brussels, when all the Jewish population of the city were burnt alive after being accused of profaning a basket of communion hosts, which were said to have bled when stabbed."
From backstage, the second performance of the run last night sounded noticeably smoother and musically richer than the Gala Opening on Friday. The audience was also more enthusiastic and receptive than the often drunk socialites who help fund the company. I haven't seen the entire opera from the front of the house, but here are a couple of enthusiastic appraisals, by Janos Gereben and Richard Scheinen.