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Thought for the day; Delicious Adriana

Yesterday, as the sun blazed, was a good day.
More importantly, I heard a blisteringly good sitzprobe of Adriana Lecouvreur.  Yesterday was a feast. I was like a kid in a sweetshop and it was entertaining to see the reaction of people who were in the theatre but who did not know Adriana, including more than one "it's my new favourite opera!". We of course did Adriana before in 2002 so we think we know it - and obviously, we do - but age and experience makes you listen differently and to hear the fluidity of the narrative music, the orchestral colours, the new interpretations of these particular singers and the very length, breadth and depth of the score is still - always - a revelation.

Outside the theatre, in the park, whose users we provide regular "free" concerts for during rehearsals and performances, people stopped, gathered, listened and chatted excitedly about this "gorgeous music", as if in shock that they had never heard something so sumptuous before, as if that could not be possible (e.g "surely I would know an opera so beautiful?"). One couple looked at the brochure and declared "this must be the Puccini one" (check the dates ladies and gentlemen). 

Of course, this last matter goes to the heart of something I have discussed quite a bit recently, namely the narrowness of audience repertoire choices, knowledge and assumptions. It is as profoundly depressing in late Italian rep as it is in Britten who during our recent Turn of the Screw found many "surprised" and shocked converts.

Cilea's music for this opera has that effect we will all recognise, when music will stop you in your tracks, interrupt whatever you were doing and just MAKE you listen. During the rehearsal, James and I had to discuss several things, just outside of the auditorium but still close enough to see and hear what was going on perfectly. It is unusual for both of us to be mute for long but it happened quite a bit as the cast and orchestra poured forth the melodies and the passion. And that is a nice feeling. You know that ridiculously febrile sensation when you see or hear something that you want to scream from the rooftops about, knowing that anybody else seeing or hearing it will be equally affected? Yeah, that one. Well, thats Adriana that is.

At a time when I am finding much to be miserable about in the opera world, yesterday was a vivid example of why I can sometimes claim to have a fantastic job; a hundred singers and musicians liberally broadcasting musical happy pills into the hot London air is not your ordinary day in the office.


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