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Opera

Last night I saw Don Giovanni, produced by Pacific Repertory Opera, a local opera company headed by Jill, a sometimes member of the master chorale as well as teacher of music. Jill led the orchestra, comprised of members of the SLO Symphony. I had not seen her direct before. The soloists were all from out of town, as usual for these kinds of productions. Several had sung with this opera company before, a few were quite "fresh". My next door neighbor and chorale mate, James, was a "supernumary" - I guess a fancy name for "extra". A non-singing part. He played several characters, ending with a zombie-like creature who arrived to escort Don Giovanni to Hell.

If there had been any other times to see it I would not have gone last night. I was so tired. I could feel myself fading and when I closed my eyes at one point to listen closely to the soprano I felt that beating in my head, a sort of rush telling me it's time to sleep.

Nevertheless! It was a terrific performance. The soloist who played Donna Anna had some range. She showed her stuff particularly in the second act, when she easily scaled some high cliffs, lightly and beautifully. All of the soloists seemed well-matched in volume and quality, except that I had the idea that Donna Anna may be going farther. The bass who played Don Giovanni's manservant - a large part - has sung with the chorale and is quite a character as well as an amazing singer. Oh yeah, if you really want to see who was who: http://www.propera.org.

Oh yeah, Don Giovanni is a comedy. Yet it opens with a rape scene, ending in a death. Well, that's opera. There are the requisite ridiculous mistaken identity scenes, the hidden characters who are hiding in plain sight and singing their hearts out about how quiet they are, the sad, beautiful arias about wanting to die, the protestations of innocence, and finally the appearance of a ghost come to claim his killer. There was also a lot of huge theatrical gesturing so the audience wouldn't miss points. I wonder if these dramatic details, the gestures and actions, have always been so pointed, or if they've been played up for modern audiences. I'd like to know. Certainly death scenes have always been larger than life, but the little ones, where there are comedic suggestions, those I wonder about.

Jill wrote an English translation that was sung last night. It was pretty decent. I wonder if others will make use of it. There were also supertitles for the arias only. So even if one did not read the synopsis or was not familiar with the opera, I think it would have been easy enough to follow along. The size of the crowd was respectable, considering it was opera. Much of the cost was underwritten by many individuals and companies, so maybe they didn't lose money on it.

I got home late because it's a long opera, yet I watched television - Paul had it on an episode of Columbo - and then tried to get my Anita Van Buren sim, who is married to my Jack McCoy sim, to make a baby with my John Munch sim. They got to bed together and cuddled and made out but didn't go further. I am trying to figure out what stopped them.

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