14. September 2005 · Comments Off on Nice! · Categories: imported, Ramble

The pit orchestra, under the direction of Anthony Quartuccio and Bryan J. Nies, as always handles the difficult scores in tight unity with the action on the stage.

The review is favorable. (It’s also a very brief review, but I’ll take the positive words, to be sure!)

(It’s interesting that the reviewer included both conductor’s names; we’ve yet to do a performance with Nies, although I’m sure he’ll be great. The review also includes the singers from the other cast, though, so I guess the writer was just trying to include as many names as he could.)

I’m not sure I’ve really commented on the opera itself. Opera San Jose’s The Crucible is, in my little opinion, quite a wonderful and powerful work. It’s not difficult in any technical way for me, but it is emotionally exhausting. It’s a short opera compared to many; we are out in less than 2 1/2 hours, yet, for some reason, it feels longer than some operas. I think it’s just that we have very little resting time (no tacets in this work!) and maybe that we have to work carefully on not covering singers and balancing with all the instruments. But I love the work! I hope we bring it back … I think it might be a bit of a stretch for some audience members, but some are on their feet at the end. It’s great to see that! In addition I believe it has so much relevance in our time; it needs to be performed and heard.
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I ran across a blog where the writer mentions The Crucible and I got a kick out of it.

Opera, for me at least, is not something I warm to easily. Puccini, of course, is filled with great and beautiful melodies, and his musical style is very much in keeping with what I enjoy. Mr. Lloyd Webber also enjoys Puccini’s melodies, and has paid homage to them several times, most notably in The Phantom of The Opera, in which a famous strain of music from La Fanciulla del West is quoted note for note in Music of The Night. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I’ve never cottoned to Verdi, nor have I rayoned or nyloned to him either. Same with the operas of Mozart. My first experience with opera (if I have written about this previously please forgive me, but I am senile) came about in a funny way. I was, as a teen, very fond of the play The Crucible by Mr. Arthur Miller. One day, while browsing at Phil Harris Records in Hollywood, California, I saw a boxed set of LPs that said The Crucible. I, of course, immediately assumed it was a spoken word album of the play, but when I picked it up I discovered it was, in fact, an American opera adapted from the play by composer Robert Ward. Now, remember, I was young, I didn’t know from opera and I didn’t know from Robert Ward. But being the impetuous youth I was I purchased it. And do you know what? It was glorious, filled with exquisitely beautiful music. I became a life-long fan of Mr. Ward, and actually got to meet him several years ago. You’ll be happy to know that my close personal friend, Mr. Stephen Sondheim, is also a fan of Mr. Ward. The good news is that The Crucible is available on CD on the Albany label, which you will find under “Ward” (not B.J.) in the classical section of your music store. It’s worth seeking out.

I like knowing that Sondheim is a fan of Robert Ward, as I’m a fan of both and … well … let’s see, if I’m a fan of them would they be fans of me?

Um. Okay. That was a stretch. I do apologize! I just want a fan. Just one. Is that asking too much? ;-)

14. September 2005 · Comments Off on Cricket, Anyone? · Categories: imported, Ramble

We had an opera performance last night. We were not alone. There was a lone cricket somewhere that decided it needed to voice its opinions throughout the opera. I do hope they find the darn thing and introduce it to the wonderful world of outside!

My husband and son went last night (and they didn’t sing or chirp along at all). Sitting downstairs in the beautiful California Theatre, they implied that the voices were heard pretty well, but we did overpower them on occasion. A friend and composer, Craig Bohmler, was sitting in the front row of the balcony … um … excuse me … Grand Tier … and said the balances were wonderful. I’ve heard that the best place to sit is in the Grand Tier, which explains why those are the most expensive tickets, I’m sure.

Meanwhile … my right hand … it hurts. A lot. I just finished a very short practice; my hand was complaining the entire time and after only about 20 minutes I decided I might be doing more harm than good. So it’s an ice pack (for the hand) and tea (for the comfort) for the time being.
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