Well, I enjoyed myself at the opera last night. Catan’s “Florencia En El Amazonas” is a nice show, nice music and good singing. I was glad I went. My favorite part was seeing Beth Clayton again, such a great voice and her expressiveness reached all the way to the highest back row where I was sitting. I was quite moved by her 2nd act aria of lament. The tenor’s aria about flying in Act I was also beautiful moment. I also enjoyed the lead soprano, Pamela Armstrong, and her aria which closes the opera was quite lovely. It was fun to see Keith Miller after seeing him in HD Met broadcasts of “Armida” and “Anna Bolena,” and there was a nice home crowd for him since he played football at CU!
As a work, “Florencia” is nice, as I said, though not perhaps rising to “great.” It’s a 2-hour opera and I felt at times that ideas (musically, thematically, dramatically) were not fully developed, and I wanted to say, “Oh, say/sing just a little more about that….” Perhaps I have been seeing too much Wagner lately! But I did enjoy it and actually would see it again…but not from the back row of this house.
This was my first time at the “Ellie” and while the house itself is lovely, the experience from the next to last row of the balcony had issues. First, the seats themselves up there are high off the floor — it is like climbing up and perching on a bar stool, complete with a bar to rest your feet on, if the person in front of you doesn’t sit back, as the seat back reclines and then you lose foot space. It was not at all comfortable, and I wondered what someone with different physical capabilities than myself would do.
I also found that the acoustics were not great either. I could hear the orchestra just fine, but the singers were sometimes covered by the orchestra, even in chorus. I wondered if at first it was a problem of an individual singer but then realized it was consistent no matter who or how many were singing. I could hear every nuance of the timpani but could lose a singer entirely.
I think if I were to go back for an Opera Colorado production, it would have to be something or someone quite special (I mean, I really went to this mostly to see Beth). At the Met HD broadcasts they almost always plug “going to your local opera company,” not just the Met. But the fact is, for half of what I paid for last night (ticket, ticket processing fee, parking), I can see the Met from the front row in a comfortable chair with my feet on the floor.
Now, I am listening the Met radio broadcast of “L’Elisir…” Happy Saturday!