Saturday, June 02, 2007

Opera at the Baths

Giovanna Casolla (Turandot) photo by Corrado Maria FalsiniAnd I'm not referring to the night Eleanor Steber played the Continental!

People who know me well were placing bets on how soon after our arrival I'd be dragging poor long-suffering Laurent off to our first opera. Well we arrive on Monday July 30 at 0800 and should be taking our seats at the Thermes de Caracalla on Friday August 3 at 2100. That's a good 109 hours after our arrival, quite long enough in my opinion.

I booked tickets at Charta On-line for a performance of Puccini's Turandot. I'm not sure I'll be doing that too often, there was a surcharge of 14 euros ($28.00) per ticket for "Internet service" so I may just stand in line at the box office when I want tickets for anything else, maybe even stopping for a leisurely "ombre" at a local cafe on my way back home.

Every Marcello Giordani(Calaf), Giovanna Casolla (Turandot)photo by Corrado Maria Falsinisummer the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma present opera and ballet amidst the spectacular ruins of the old Baths. The biggy is always Aida with horses, elephants - and I am told one year a giraffe - though what they have to do with poor Aida pining for her Patria by the Nile I'm not sure. These days the singers are often not the big divas and divos but its really more about the spectacle, a warm Roman summer night and the setting.

I've been told that this production of Turandot is unusual in that we don't get the entire population of China decked out in courtly splendor screaming for Calaf's head. Apparently it is more intimate though its hard to imagine intimate at Caracalla. I'm looking forward to it.

While looking on YouTube for videos of Caracalla I came across this newsreel footage of an opening night Aida at Caracalla in 1962. Stella, Simonato, Bergonzi - big operatic names at the time, were performing and the audience was filled with B-grade celebrities of the day.



It gives you an idea of the size of the stage and the spectacle. And that announcer cracks me up - he must be going for a speed record.

5 comments:

laurent said...

Will, Long suffering Laurent, what are you talking about. Little fantasy here. Laurent enjoys going to the Opera with Willy always did. Am sure we will have loads of fun. I am also looking forward to going to La Fenice with you after seeing the building after the fire in ruins for so many years it will be nice to go there.

more cowbell said...

Oh, good for you! I'm not an opera fan, but my daughter would be envious. (Give me Early Music any day, thank you.) She interned at the Seattle Opera when they did the complete Ring cycle, then went to Toronto and saw it again there. (I'm sorry, but what is it, 17 hours?! She's also seen a couple of dress rehearsals -- ack!) She's going to intern again this year, not sure what they're doing.

(Oh, she identified your cello piece in the art-video post, I left a comment there)

Willym said...

Actually I'm a big fan of almost any sort of music as long as it has the human voice in it - chat, polyphony, choral, opera - okay draw the line at lied but love French art songs - jazz, broadway.

Yep 17 hours at least... that's dedication. Wish I had the stamina.

Is your daughter going into the music end of the business or stage side?

more cowbell said...

She is a piano major, just finished first year of college. She's not so much interested in solo concert performance . Hasn't really decided which direction to take. She's really strong in theory and history. Greek to me. I read notes, that's it.

Anonymous said...

STOP BEING SO CHIC AND FABULOUS!
Seriously, your Life w/ Laurent (sounds like a tv series!) sounds so full of love and adventure!
The Hub & I are going to Cannes & Paris (me for the 1st time) next year. Any suggestions (hotels or apt?, sightseeing, opera, shopping?) how we should spend our 2 weeks? Particularly Paris (I have business in Cannes for 1 week so that time is pretty much taken). Thanks! Love your blog!