seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Cyrano de Bergerac by Franco Alfano, staged at the Met with Roberto Alagna as Cyrano

This was actually really good. I'm surprised, I didn't know what to expect of Alfano, who's most famous for finishing Puccini's Turandot (yuck) rather than for his own original work. The drama was exceptionally tightly plotted, the vocal lines were pretty and the orchestration made surprisingly ironic use of its lush post-romanticism.

Written in the 1930s based on a play written in the 1890s, it felt like an opera of the 1890s in spirit- A sort of verismo mostly unaware of Schoenberg, Debussy, Stravinsky. But I'm not sure I mean that in as negative a way as I normally do. In some sense there was a rightness to the choice- Cyrano de Bergerac is a story about a bygone era and that Romantic nostalgia is consonant thematically with the story being told.

The only major problem I had with the transplant to opera is that the Baron is a little too similar to typical operatic empty shirt tenor heroes that we're supposed to root for, not quite ridiculous enough, because he is not supposed to be a villain either. So the idea that Roxane may end up with him does not seem quite as horrifying as it should, to an audience inured by offensively banal romantic operas. The third act does not quite hold together as a result, a little too frantic in its movements to fully develop its principal characters. But the fourth act... What a gorgeously executed "15 years later," a jump that stands in for a kind of romantic development most operatic composers can't quite evoke in the time they have available to them. One of the reasons opera love is broken is that you can't invest the time it takes to actually show real relationships forge themselves on stage, unless, you know, you're Strauss. But the 15 years later jump here sold me- the Cyrano/Roxane relationship that followed speaks clearly of 15 years of development.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-03 04:56 pm (UTC)
cahn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cahn
No way, an opera with a tight plot?? I might have to check this one out :)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-03 06:49 pm (UTC)
cahn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cahn
Yeah, I figured that was what you meant, I mean, we're talking about a genre here whose usual storyline goes something like

Bob: We must get married or else disaster will ensue!
Alice: We can't get married for reasons I can't explain because there really isn't a particularly good reason!
Charlie: Alice, I will give you this evidence that Bob is a terrible person which you could easily falsify by actually talking to him. But you won't, because this is an opera.
*disaster ensues, rocks fall, etc.*

/not that I'm really bitter about Lucia di Lammermoor or anything

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