Posted on September 30, by Scott Alexander [Content warning: Try to keep this off Reddit and other similar sorts of things.
Lighting Designer — T. It held its own at the Met as long as Sutherland performed it, that is, until Three years later Renata Scotto brought a more dramatic approach to Amina, but her performances of the role Encountering conflict essay conclusion went beyond the season. Romani changed the setting from Provence to a Swiss village, a locality familiar to wealthy tourists and admirers of Rossini, who had recently closed his career with a Swiss historical subject.
It tells the story of simple villagers, Amina and Elvino, who are about to get married. Their life conveniently revolves around the local inn, where the celebrations are to take place. A mysterious traveller, Rodolfo, arrives and takes a room at the inn.
Curiously, the village is familiar to him and conjures up pleasant memories. Lisa figures out that Rodolfo is the son of the local count. That night in his room, an intimacy begins, interrupted by Amina, who is walking in her sleep.
Of course none of these people know about sleepwalking. Lisa takes advantage of the situation and renews her engagement to Elvino. Poor Amina is miserable. At first Elvino refuses to pay attention, but Amina reappears, sleepwalking, singing about her distress and dreaming of her marriage to Elvino.
The opera concludes with a joyful chorus anticipating the nuptials which were to have occurred at the beginning. Of course stories about complications in the lives of simple people are as popular today as they were in the Romantic period, although, perhaps, not in opera, and then more in terms of Porgy and Bess, Wozzeck and Marie, Tony and Maria, or George and Lennie, rather than Swiss villagers in their tidy peasant costumes.
For tourists in Switzerland the village inn has long been replaced by slick, highly professionalized hotels. What traveller today lounges about the village inn or strolls its streets? How to present La Sonnambula without choking the audience with Swiss kitsch and nostalgia for things long beyond the memory, let alone the experience of most people?
Remember that La Sonnambula has reappeared only when there was a soprano who could bring off Amina. Mary Zimmerman is well aware of all this and has decided to present the opera as a backstage musical, or a rehearsal for a production of the opera, in which the participants experience the same relationships and and entanglements as the characters they perform.
This is of course not a terribly original idea in itself, and the complications of the added layer did not exactly reinforce the clarity of the of the story. I was aided in this by avoiding reading her essay about the production until after the performance was over. When I finally did read this somewhat doughy and occasionally obscure bit of prose, I began to like the production less.
There was just enough preening in it and just enough condescension to put me on my guard. Of course not…and all that stage business was more of a distraction from those simple relationships and emotions than an expansion of them.
I have to confess that most of my energy went into listening rather than watching and interpreting. Singers and conductors, balancing and merging the styles of Callas and Sutherland, know how to bring out the dramatic and emotive core of the pretty melodies and the impressive ornament.
Natalie Dessay is more a Callas than a Sutherland, if of a more cheerful, extraverted sort. I think we are fortunate that we can simply listen, admire, and be moved by bel canto opera, rather than perceiving it as a lost art revived by a Verdian transfusion or a meticulously reconstructed technical specialism.
Jane Bunnell offered a vivid and variegated Teresa, and Jennifer Black brought nuance and depth to the villainess Lisa, who was in this production, mind you, both an innkeeper and a stage director. Mary Zimmerman may have labored a bit too earnestly on it, but she also knows how to have fun, and that, I believe, saved her part of the show in the end.
The musicians needed no apologies.Opened to the public in , the Liverpool and Manchester Railway effectively inaugurates the modern railway era. This essay sketches the construction of the L&M, the memorable events of its opening day, and its impact upon representations of the railway and its risks.
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