Monday, October 13, 2008

L'Opera and Then Some!

     The Metropolitan Opera has restored all of it's crystal chandeliers, thanks to a gift by the Swarovski barons.  The exquisite light fixtures, symbolic of the new life at the Met, are all a-sparkle.  And so the Season begins. The revival of La Giaconda was performed  early in the new season, but if you missed that one, there are lots more to tickle your aria palette. 
Run and see any Zeffirelli production, as the modern versions of all of the favorites are slowly creeping into the repetoire. The two being shown this season are Cavalleria Rusticana, with Pagliaci, and La Traviata.
For a costume fanatic, Zeffirelli designed shows are the optimum.  The difference is extraordinary to my eye. Although the 17th C. italian setting of La Giaconda is ripe for picking, the costumes don't match the extraordinary combinations that Mr. Zeffirelli includes for a rich and rewarding visual.  Opera fans hovering in the wings of the new productions may feel that the lush ambiance subtracts from the onward modern pace of the genre.  But give me La Traviata over a stage littered with illustrated props and psycho-suggestions of crowds.  give me the fabrics, the density, and of course, give me Renee Fleming singing the part, and I am one happy girl.
What can surpass the lace scrim at the opening of Carmen?  What?! 
Headpieces, hats, tendancy may lean to the extreme, but I'm a visual kind of gal.  I want it all.
The redux of La Giaconda fills the stage but not the dresses.  The lace is everywhere, golden and shimmering , like the  Prada skirt everyone wants to own.  Carnival time in Venice is a time for magnificence, not making do, I'm afraid, so the flat silhouettes of the capes, headpieces and skirts left lots to be desired.  And thus the line drawn between a Zeffirelli production and all the rest.
Looking forward to the rest of the season, I'm hoping for hats everywhere.

above: La Giaconda, below, Carmen

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