Thursday, July 24, 2014

Here and Back Again in NYC - Day 10 (part 1) - Werther

Hey you all! Ah I just finished reading my Fifty Shades trilogy and I must say I really liked what I read! I'm feeling very book orphaned now that I finished and since the movie trailer (HOLY SHIT IT'S SO HOT, click here if you dare and watch it) came out today you won't be surprised if I start reading the series all over again soon. There are some parts that are over sweetened but the story is involving and the sex is real great! My AMAZING voice coach gave me a book called Fifty Shades of Mr. Darcy for my birthday which is a crossover of Fifty Shades of Gray and Pride and Prejudice, it’s a satire and I cannot wait to start reading it tonight! I also downloaded the first season of Mad Man which I’m excited to start watching!

Remember there was one day missing from my New York City adventures? Here it goes then!

It is always like this, when we near the end of a trip like this we start wanting to do a gazzilion things all at the same time. That is why mum and I were up extra early that morning and after our breakfast, we hit the streets. We went to several stores buying all in our way (Brazilians are very much like that, we have no sense of proportion). We went to this trendy sunglasses store, ah, the name escapes me, ah, I know! Sunglass Hut (or something) on Fifth Avenue. Don’t worry I wasn’t about to throw a couple of hundred dollars into sunglasses, I mean, I got mine at Forever 21 for like $10 and they are great! We were actually there because my cousin’s sunglasses broke and my uncle asked us to take them there to get them fixed. And I can say without a shadow of a doubt that that was the very worst service I ever got in a store. I would hop from attendant to attendant trying to get someone to help me and they would either ignore me or just try and shove to another attendant. My patience was coming to an end because I had a ticket to see Werther at 1 and the hour was nearing. Bottom line, we didn’t get anything solved and that store is the worst, I’m serious, the worst!
that's my mommy, ain't he the cutest? 
Well I got in a cab and rushed to the Met. Man, why am I ALWAYS rushing to that godforsaken place? Why can’t I just be early for once? I always arrive at the nick of time! Anyway, I did get there a good 15 minutes prior to curtain and I thought I might try my luck yet again with the student ticket thing since my seat pretty much sucked balls. And I think I’m starting to understand this whole thing, it depends ENTIRELY upon the good will of the person in the booth. Because as soon as I saw the sour face of the attendant I knew I wouldn’t be getting shit. Well, I had a ticket, a $30 Family Circle side ticket, but a ticket nonetheless, in a bit I was in!

As I headed towards my seat, which was oddly near to the stage but far too high I started regretting the decision of buying this ticket. It was the nearest seat to the stage up in the family circle so I actually had to lean forward a lot to see the stage. I also had to make a choice, to either read the surtitles or watch the opera, I could not do both. Anyway, I was just happy to be there so sod it! A very cool couple sat next to me and we chatted for a little bit before it began.

THE fabulous view!
Oh dude, Werther, it’s Massenet, only one of my favorite composers, my favorite French composer, I was in the clouds as soon as those first notes rang. Again, I loved the story telling in the beginning and the good thing about this seat was that I could actually see facial expressions! I could see them extremely well! The back of the stage was blocked to me but in the front part, not a single facial expression was missed. So it was really like watching a whole new thing, I already had a very good notion of how the production worked but now I could actually see all their faces twist and twitch!

Kudos yet again to those kids playing Charlotte’s siblings, they were simply incredible. Such sincere, playful and truthful acting you would think they were not acting at all! This makes me wish I could have seen my good friend Melanie perform in the children’s chorus. But anyway it was really great to be able to actually see with my own eyes the first time Werther sets his eyes on Charlotte. And we’re talking Jonas Kaufmann here so you people know that he absolutely rocked the singing and the acting part of Werther. I feel so lucky that I was able to actually see this amazing production live, twice! I’ll never tire of saying that because I’m truly humbled and extremely grateful that I was lucky enough to be there.

As the plot moves along I’m able to see the ball scene upclose which was such a lovely amazing surprise to me and quickly became one of my favorite scenes from this production. Even though it’s like 3 minutes long, it’s extremely romantic and gives me goose pups. Because when they arrive at the garden after the ball they are already smitten with each other. But to have that ball scene you get to see their firsts, like the first dance, the first time they look in each others eyes, their first conversation alone, it’s inspired. Gosh I’m getting way too overly excited about this. Sorry guys, you people have to remember I’m a hopeless romantic even though I put on the ice queen façade. 

You cannot help but fall for Jonas’ Werther, now I could see the amount of adoration his eyes carry for Charlotte. Although I felt again that Koch was a tad cold to MY taste. As everyone knows I’m a bit too fiery sometimes and expect characters to match that warmth. I did purchase the original Goethe “Die Leiden des jungen Werther” last Sunday. I was lucky enough to find it in a local bookstore here in my hometown and I was a sight to see squirming like an idiot because of my discovery and buying it regardless of the fact that I cannot read German. I find it it’s always good to have the origins and the originals of my favorite works (although my Pushin’s Eugene Onegin is in English but Russian is a step too far, right?). Anyhow back to Koch’s (Charlotte’s) coldness, maybe I found it frustrating because it contrasted SO much with Kaufmann’s (Werther’s) ardor.

The garden scene was so great and it was real wonderful to see the facial expressions! One day I’ll have enough money to get myself on a seat in which I can see the facial expressions, sit up straight, read the surtitles and have full view of the stage. Or at least be relevant enough to be given such a seat!

As act one finishes the couple next to me is cuddling and exchanging loving words and I’m surprised that I don’t feel the annoyance I normally do in this kind of situation. I felt actually really happy for them, they were very nice and looked very cute together. Maybe it was the opera. And in that little interval I find out that the lady is actually Brazilian, what are the freaking odds??

Act two of Werther, not my favorite part of the day. I started getting very irritated with Charlotte’s coldness and lack of compassion for this dude who was crawling at her feet! Sophie’s aria however was LOVELY. I’m so dead serious when I say that Lisette has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard! Geez, what a gift, and paired with such great acting as well as the fact that she is SUPER sweet she just totally wins me over.

I had such an amazing time at intermission. I was joined by my good, good opera buddies Harry and Kim and we talked about opera all the way and it was awesome. Gosh, I LOVE it that I have them and we can discuss stuff at the same level without me having to explain stuff. We can just talk and exchange so much in such a small period of time! Anyways, as per usual intermission flew by and we were back for DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA!

Act three of Werther, my favorite act! I must admit that Sophie Koch purred her soul out in this, she was INCREDIBLE. She has such a beautiful full, rich, velvety voice that fills the Met and melts your insides. It’s very contrasting with her portrayal of cold Charlotte. Although in this act she was much more emotional, kind of desperate because she thought Werther was going to kill himself. Her sister arrives and she finishes us off with “Va laisse couler me larmes” and I know that’s only the beginning of angst festival but the poor woman next to me does not as she weeps and weeps. The whole opera became even sadder because of her reaction to it, she cried most of the time. And I totally do not judge her, the first time I saw this I also cried the entire final acts. Sophie leaves and DAM, DAM, DAM, DAAAAM, Werther arrives.

I was so grateful that they remained mostly downstage for this act because then I could see the angst filled expressions of both of them. It was so FREAKING intense I was almost throwing myself off that seat in order to get a better view! At the end of that too impossibly good for words “Pourquoi me réveiller” that opera house almost came apart. I love this part because this aria prepares you for the passionate, desperate part when for brief moments Charlotte gives in. No need to say he’s all over her, and just a fun fact, they TOTALLY toned it down for the HD. They were so all over each other when I saw it, just like the kiss at the end of Eugene Onegin, they REALLY had it going ‘off camera’.

Then act four was the most frustrating thing that EVER happened to me. Why? Because I could see naught! That little square that was Werther’s room was far to upstage plus the structure blocked my view from above! Meaning I did not see anything really of this whole part. Very, very sad. I could hear it though and that was pretty awesome. And I could also see the lady who was sitting next to me fall apart. She was full on SOBBING, it was so sad, I felt really bad for her. But I also did shed a tear for our Werther.

bows from my crappy seat
At bows the audience was wild and the whole cast was just in awe of the whole response. I sat there talking to the lady for quite a while after the curtain fell and she was telling me how she knew opera could be sad but not SO sad. Then I met Kim and we headed down to the stage door so she could get her stuff signed.

Harry, Kim and me after the opera
DUDE, that stage door was PACKED! I’m talking about 60 people making loads of noise and pushing and pushing. I was really very shocked, I had never seen the stage door like this before. I made a silent prayer thanking my Scots friend Mike for making me wait for 2 hours in the freezing cold at opening night because there was no way I could have exchanged 3 words with Jonas Kaufmann in this crazy gathering.

When Jonas came out loads of people clapped and I just stayed behind waiting for Kim as she ventured to try and get a pic and autograph (she succeeded btw). I felt really bad for Jonas actually, he had to scream several times “I swear I will sign everything and take pictures but please STOP PUSHING!” that is really fucked up. Some people have no respect.

I got this pic from Lisette's twitter but it really does not do justice to what happened, here people are actually giving her room to breathe, something Jonas did not get

After the crowd cleared I was tempted to go talk to him but decided against it at the end.

I’m gonna stop here because I really wanna post this today and if I went on and told you about Fledermaus I wouldn’t be able to. I’ll post last day in NYC part 2 soon! Thanks for reading and cheers!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Exciting Concerts to Come!

Hello there world! Was that stadium turned into a slaughter house or what? But I don't really wanna talk about it because quite frankly I don't give a shit about football. I didn't even watch any of the games! I have no patience to watch those games, I feel I could be doing something much more productive with my time. 

Anyways this last Thursday was my birthday and I can safely say that I was able to do everything I love and be with all the people that I love. I had a fabulous voice lesson with my fabulous teacher. Sang Mozart who is one of my favorite composers. Went to the book store and bought the other 2 books from the Fifty Shades trilogy (holy shit it’s so good!). Had a great lunch with a complete stranger who turned out to be super nice. Then I went to the MAC store because I got a free makeup for my birthday. It was kinda terrifying during the process of the make up because at some point I did think I was gonna look ridiculous but once it was finished it looked AMAZING! I'll post a picture bellow.Then I went to a nearby Starbucks to start reading Fifty Shades Darker (I got the pretty hard cover one because they had run out of paperbacks). And can you actually believe that the guy who sat next to me all smiles and nice manners actually scolded at me when he saw the title of my book. Fucking jerk. Then I went to my aunt’s house where we had popcorn, salame, cheese and chips while we drank Lemoncello and then red wine and laughed and chatted and laughed some more. My friend Caio was to pick me up but he was late because Prince Harry was visiting the building he works in, how awesome is that, hun? When I got into his car I was extremely tipsy and holding a bag of popcorn which I handed to him, a gift from my aunt. I got to meet his new boyfriend who is really nice and very friendly and since traffic was chaotic we had a lot of time to chat. I arrived at the bar I had told my friends to meet me in 45 minutes late, they were all already there though. Then I drank several mojitos and had a blast of a good time! We even read bits of Fifty Shades Darker out loud for some laughs. Thankfully the book is in English so the amount of people who actually had the capacity of understanding what we were laughing at was small. Bottom line, GREAT BIRTHDAY.

that's me in the cool make up and with my happy drink!
I’m real excited because even though Brazil lost, what a humiliating game, I’ve started prepping today for the two most important concerts of my year in Brazil, so fuck football. First in the beginning of next month we will receive the lovely Natalie Dessay and her husband. And I know, I know I might have bad-mouthed her a little bit here for walking out of opera as if they were a worn out pair unwanted Louboutins. But that was over a year ago so sod it.

She’s doing this lovely, lovely, lovely chanson repertoire and I couldn’t help with cheer and giggle as I saw the great list of Faure chansons I adore listed out! The other ones I must admit I do not know but that’s the great thing about YouTube and that great little program I have in my pc that downloads audios from Youtube. I have over a month to become acquainted with these songs so I can fully appreciate them when Natalie sings them. 

I find that to most rewarding because, for instance, even though I loved Jonas’ concert I didn’t know any of the songs he sang, not even one. And even though it was Jonas Kaufmann and he’s like a God, I know I would have enjoyed myself much more had I known the music. Like I enjoyed myself watching Gerry Finley sing Schubert’s Winterreisse. Gosh I can remember like it was yeterday how Gute Nacht just pierced my heart and literally made me cry, he drew freaking tears from me. And I want that experience repeated because I ADORE chanson with an almost scary force, they just speak to me. I’m not a very lieder person but chansons just hit the right spot. It's taste I guess, but they get to me, and to have an actual French person (and not just any person, it’s freaking Natalie Dessay) sing them it’s really something, so I’m super excited. I’m probably going on both days, haven’t decided yet but probably going to both performances.

And then towards the end of next month one of the inspirations of my life nicest people I’ve ever met is coming back. Joyce, the coolest opera singer EVER! I got the news that she was scheduled to sing in São Paulo in August of this year a little bit before going to NYC in October of last year and actually meeting her in person. So I actually got to ask her about that engagement and she told me she was super excited about coming back to Brazil and that the audience was simply superb! But I must say I was expecting a repertoire of opera favorites for this concert and when I saw it I was a bit shocked. Because I’m one of those fans that knows basically everything she sings and then I felt at loss looking through the rep and recognizing very few pieces. 

Joyce being her awesome self!
But no worries, I have already downloaded every single one of the songs, including one by Villa Lobos that I simply loved from an opera called Magdalena “”. It’s quite cool, this version bellow is sung by a great Brazilian mezzo soprano called Luciana Bueno. I remember the first time I saw her live on stage I was extremely shocked at how good she was, that was because she was playing the first wife in the musical “The King and I” and all of a sudden there’s this huge gorgeous operatic voice amongst the much shier musical theater ones. She was DA BOMB in that musical. Funnily enough this same musical was conducted by my own voice teacher who is all kinds of awesome herself.

But anyways, back to the topic, Joyce’s concert which I’m super excited about plus I’m taking ton of friends to see it and we will fangirl and it will be awesome. From the stuff I do know she is doing only two Drama Queens arias, “Piangero la sorte mia” which I one of my personal favorites so there’s a big YAY for that and “Morte col fiero aspetto” which is also one of my favorites. But I would just DIIIIIE (and this is the seventeen year old ´die´) if he sang Madre Diletta, it’s my favorite track from the whole CD and it turns me into a puddle of feels. Stuff that I didn’t know includes Haydn’s Ariadne of Naxos (I downloaded a version with Vesselina Kasarova posted by my good friend Mike, thanks hon!) and some Santoliquido (had no idea of his existence until today) canzonettas. But I’m still hopeful for operatic encores, SEVERAL, pretty please!! If I can expeculate, what I would love to hear as encores. Some Rossini awesomeness like “Tanti Affetti”, “Una Voce Poco Fa” and “Non Piu Mesta”. Also some Baroque bliss she does so well, like “Ombra mai Fu” or “Lasciami piangere”. Or Mozart, what I wouldn’t give for “Ecco il Punto oooh Vitelia/ Non piu di fiori” or even a simple “Deh Viene non tardar”. If she sang in French I would quite possibly DIE (that seventeen year old DIE again), like “Je suis gris” or ANY aria from Cendrillon (like THAT’s gonna happen).

Anyhow I’m excited and since I’m SUPER UBER nice I’m posting here the repertoires both are doing followed by links of the pieces in my favorite versions for us all to get acquainted.  My computer i kind of fucked up right now so I'll post the links when I can.

Natalie's and Laurent's Repertoire

Gabriel Faure
Puisqu'Ici Bas Toute Ame (V. Hugo)
Clair de Lune (letra P. Verlaine)
Après un Rêve (R. Bussine)
Mandoline (P. Verlaine)
Les berceaux (S. Prudhomme)
Prison (P. Verlaine)
Fleur jetée (A. Silvestre)
Pleurs d'Or (A.V. Samain)

Henri Duparc
Invitation au Voyage (C. Baudelaire)
Au Pays où se Fait la Guerre (T. Gautier)
Soupir (S. Prudhomme)
La Vague et la Cloche (F. Coppée)
La Fuite (T. Gautier)           

Francis Poulenc
Colloque (P. Valéry)
Calligrammes (7 poèmes de G. Apollinaire)
Vers le sud
Il pleut
La grâce exilée
Aussi bien que les cigales
Voyage: Adieu amour nuage qui fuit
Fiançailles pour Rire (6 poèmes de L. de Vilmorin)

Leo Delibes
Les Trois Oiseaux (F. Coppée)

Charles-Marie Widor
Nocturne (A. Dorchain)
Qu'un Songe au Ciel m'Enlève (V. Hugo)

Joyce’s Repertoire

HAYDN - Arianna a Naxos

SANTOLIQUIDO I canti della Sera
1. L’assiolo canta
2. Alba di luna sul bosco
3. Tristezza crepuscolare
4. L’incontro

ROSSINI Beltà crudele
La Danza

HASSE/HANDEL "Drama Queens”
Morte col fiero aspetto (Antonio e Cleopatra)
Piangerò (Giulio Cesare)

Beautiful Dreamer (Canção de Stephen Foster / Arr. David Krane)
Lovely Jimmie (Jerome Kern)
Food for Thought (Heitor Villa-Lobos de “Magdalena”)

ROSSINI Riedi al soglio (Zelmira)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

As my book addiction continues...

Hey there world! Aren’t we all loving all these updates? Ah, I have so many news so let’s get to them. I don’t know if I mentioned but I did get into the Vancouver Community College, YAY ME! Unfortunately I won’t be able to go this year because of many reasons. But on a happy note I did start having classes with my voice teacher again last week and so I feel very well looked after. Gosh I had no idea of how much I missed her, she’s so much more than a coach, she’s really one of the most precious friends I have, plus she has such a wonderful soul. Anyway my voice sounds like crap because I haven’t vocalized properly for the past months but it will heal in due time.

My birthday is this Thursday and I’m actually going to spend it in São Paulo because I have a voice lesson. I’m going to be 24 and wow, suddenly I feel kinda old, twenty freaking four.

This weekend I did an experiment and went on the famous ‘balada’, that’s the dance clubs here in Brazil. It was nice, I guess. The music kinda irritated me, you see you would have about 30 seconds of the tunes you know and love and sing along to followed by 5 minutes of electronic nonsense. Hey, I’m a very open minded person when it comes to music but that electronic crap is just fucking dumb. How am I supposed to dance to something that doesn’t touch me? Mind you that I did ingest alcohol so my senses were slightly off and still I could not get into the vibe everyone else seemed to be so hooked on. I guess I’m just picky, I know that there are some great (gay) ‘baladas’ which actually play normal music, those awesome 90’s songs and pop songs that I really like so that’s where I wanna go from now on. Plus I was a bit shocked at how the majority of the girls were dressed. Some of them seriously looked like hookers, real time prostitutes plus they were so young. I guess you are thinking I’m picky and old fashioned but I myself was wearing a rather short dress but nothing compared to the extremely high heels (which I find extremely stupid for one to wear at a dance club that has no place whatsoever for you to to sit), butt length mini dresses, shorts and skirts, with the occasional crop top, I seriously felt like a nun. I’m amazed that young women think that this is sexy, exposing SO much of their bodies, I find it extremely vulgar. But anyways, I’m not going to solve the problems of the world nonetheless the lack of self respect most young women in that club have with this post.

In other news I did overdo a little bit last week at the book store buying the grand total of 9 new books. I know I have a disease, I’m a shopaholic. So that’s what I want to dedicate this post of today for, to talk about the 9 books I bought that I haven’t read yet (I did start reading one and I’m already halfway through it, I’ll save the best for last)

As my Agatha Christie obsession continues I cannot seem to be able to walk into a place and not buy if not one of her books. When I went to the supermarket for groceries last week I bought two. The Pale Horse, I do believe they used this story for the series Marple (which is a TV series for Miss Marple the sweet old lady who solves mysteries better than any police detective) but the original one does not involve my mother’s favorite bird watching old lady. For this series (as well as Poirot) they do get some of the stories Christie wrote that don’t involve Poirot or Marple and adapt it inserting either of them. But as for the book it’s apparently set on a country side village in England (aren’t they all?) where the vicar has been assassinated and suddenly many people start getting sick. Intriguing hun? Plus it features one of my favorite sidekicks, Ariadne Oliver who is a detective stories novelist always in search of new inspiration.

Then I bought Towards Zero, mind you both of them are in Portuguese. I don’t really like reading translations because normally they are very badly done but I find that whoever translates Agatha Christie for Portuguese is a standing out exception. Just like Pale Horse they also used this story for the series Marple but the original does not feature her but a Scotland Yard detective named Battle.

When I went to Livraria Cultura last Thursday with far too much time in my hands I got another Christie book but this time in the original language. My collection actually varies from Harper editions bought in the US to 60’s and 70’s editions both in Portuguese and English that belonged to my mother to the L&PM Pocket ones in Portuguese. Ordeal by Innocence was something I had been wanting to read for a while. You see I had this friend who was crazy about Agatha Christie and after he passed away his mom gave away his books to several friends and I picked out a big hard covered one called Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks. This is the sort of book that you have to be a real big fan of Agatha Christie to read and it only makes sense if you are familiar with all her stories which are MANY. So I had read every single one of the books mentioned in the first chapter (before each chapter you have a list of the books you must have read to truly understand it) but one, Ordeal by Innocence so there you have it!

Christie aside let’s turn our attention to another lady author I adore. I don’t know if I ever mentioned here but I do LOVE to cook! Ah, it’s one of the utmost joys of my life, I love to go out to buy the ingredients, selecting them one by one, making the dish all by myself while singing opera and then eating it and most importantly feeding the ones I love. And one of my favorite modern novels is in fact Julie & Julia, it inspired the movie with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. So in this spending spree I was resolute in getting a recipe book. But the thing with recipe books is that I can only get them in Portuguese because of the ingredients, many ingredients in recipes from American books are simply not sold in Brazil so it becomes quite frustrating.

I actually had my mind set on buying Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking because it’s so iconic but the store did not have it. What they did have was a ‘sort of’ translation of those two books called A Arte Culinária de Julia Child (which I roughly translate to Julia Child’s Art of Cooking). I’ve decided that just like Julie I’ll be making every single recipe in that book, already got the ingredients for the first soup in the book.

And then I spotted something that I have a very strong feeling I only bought because it had a beautiful picture of Meryl Streep on the cover in a French market all smiley faced and ‘oh, it’s so good to live in France’. It’s called Minha Vida na França (My Life in France) and it’s a memoires book written by Julia Child about her life in France.

I also got a very thin looking edition of The Great Gatsby because I haven’t seen the movie and apparently everyone knows the story but me. I only bought the thin version because all the others had very ugly covers and I so did not want to own a book with Leonardo DiCaprio’s face on the cover. It’s bad enough that I have a book that has Kristen Steward’s face on it and you all know what I’m talking about.

Moving on toward the a more modern sort of literature but always sticking to female writers I bought the book that originated one of my favorite TV series, Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell. It’s so odd to think that when I was younger and first saw this show I was so sure I was just like Charlotte. But now I feel more inclined to agree with Samantha in most things, I wish I had her balls though, she is one self confident lady, but I do have her drive.

Then I got Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophia Kinsella because let’s face it, story of my life, right? And I love the movie, it’s so lovely! Although I do know that the original story is actually set in London other than New York City.

And last but most definitely not least book I got was Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James. I have been hearing so much buzz about this book for such a long time that curiosity finally won over after I read the first page. After I left the bookstore I went to a close by Starbucks and started reading it, well, more like devouring it. Very early on you can tell that the book is a page turner and as a matter of fact quite amusing!

For those of you who don’t know, Fifty Shades of Gray actually started out as an adult fanfiction about Twilight. The author then got inspired to write her own story based in both her fantasies and in the fantasies of many, many women around the world. The book was a sellout phenomenon, at one point it was selling one copy per second, per fucking second!

It tells this story about a girl named Anastasia (I find that name gorgeous) who is just graduating college. She’s rather insecure and is the romantic Austen book and a cup of tea kind of girl. I find it interesting how there is very little actual description of how she looks, she’s a burnet, fair skinned, average body, messy haircut but that’s about it. I do find that rather brilliant because that makes it SO easy for the reader to imagine herself living through Anastasia.

So she’s agreed to help out her flat mate who got sick and can’t make it to interview this big shot company owner so she goes in her place. Anastasia expects Christian Gray to be a 40 year old man but is socked when she comes face to face with a young twenty something year old Greek God. Handsome, graceful, hot as hell and completely full of himself. You would think she would act extremely meek and shy around him but she actually makes quite bold remarks like “You sound like a control freak” and “So you wanna possess things” You are a control freak.

He’s intrigued by her and starts pursuing her, he asks her out and she’s most of time like “Is this even real? What the hell can he possibly want with me?”. As they get to know each other more and more and liking each other more and more Christian decides to show Ana what he’s into and how all his ‘relationships work’. He’s into BDSM which stands for bondage/discipline, dominance/submission and sadism/masochism, so he likes to tie up his partners and have his wicked way with them. But don’t worry because it’s all consensual, that’s the fun for him to have the person want to be in this situation, to make the person want to be in this situation.

Needless to say that Ana is mortified because she fell for this guy and to make matters worse he wants her to sign this contract that dictates how she has to live her life basically while she is his ‘submissive’. But, the thing is, there is a catch, because Christian also starts falling for her so he bends every single rule in his book to please her. Plus Ana has her protestations in regards to many things in that contract and changes most of them so we are really left with the sexy part and none of that real heavy stuff.

I haven’t finished yet, have about 150 pages to go. Plus it’s a trilogy so I plan on finishing it by Thursday so I can buy the other two then when I go to São Paulo. I did not expect to like this book but I did, it’s fun, it’s funny, it’s very believable in a sense that the heroin is of flesh and blood and could be just anyone which I think is one of the main ingredients of the success of the book. Yes, it does have rather detailed descriptions of their sexual adventures but that doesn’t bother me not even a bit. I mean, I have been reading fanfiction for the past 10 years so I’m more than used to this kind of stuff. And something that delighted me was the fact that the author is really one of those everyday people who writes great stuff for fanfiction and all of the sudden she’s a published author selling millions of books! I did also see a lot of writers scold her work and say it’s garbage and it’s porn and I find that so silly and it's an extreme contradiction since everybody has sex, so what’s the harm in writing about it? We’re in the 21st century for crying out loud!

Well so far so good with 50 Shades of Gray, I love it that the name comes of a line Christian says to her about him being 50 shades of fucked up. As I said it’s a very funny book and very hot might I add, especially since now I know that the guy playing Christian is Jamie Dornan, aka the Huntsman from Once Upon a Time. 

there we have it, the collection! 
And so that's it! I think that for my next post I'll be retelling my last day in NYC from February that I haven't covered yet. Dang that was a fun day! Cheers all!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Ultimate Don Giovanni!

Hey all! So how have you all been doing? I’m pretty good, I'm great actually, I have lost so much weight it's insane! After I post this I'm actually going to take my new found hot bootie shopping because everything is sort of baggy and weird on me now. YAY!

But anyways, this post is actually about opera for a change. You see a couple of months ago I went to the movie theater to watch the Royal Opera House’s new production of Don Giovanni. This one was actually in my home town, it wasn’t live (obviously) so they had 4 different times for the opera, Saturday and Sunday at 11 in the morning, Monday at 3 in the afternoon and Tuesday at 7 in the evening, not very good ones but I’ll take what I can get.

I went to the mall all by myself driving my bike. As I’ve said sometimes here I do enjoy going to the opera alone. When you take a friend there’s always that feeling of “Oh my God I hope he likes it.” “Should I explain this part?” “Did he understand that part?” “Is he bored?” and also the apologetic mode comes on automatically for me “Don’t worry, the first act is just about to end. Only 2 more arias and a quintet.” “The interviews are funny, the singers are very nice, trust me.” And if I go alone I can immerse myself in the piece, sit back, relax and watch the whole opera in peace.

But of course that didn’t happen right? I did go alone but as for the uninterrupted bliss line of operatic experience, well, it didn’t happen. But I’ll get to that in a second. So I get to the movie theater and am faced with my first problem, the old people. And I don’t mean to be rude, it’s just old people in Brazil and especially in this town are a special breed of impolite and have an inflated sense of self. That’s because there are some pretty stupid laws here that give older people the idea that they can cut in line in front of everyone. According to law every establishment should have an exclusive cashier for senior citizens, pregnant women and handicap people. But the thing was, that cashier was closed and only one girl was selling the tickets, so the old people simply made another line in front of the actual line and cut in in front of absolutely everyone. And every single old person that would show up would prompt their derrières right in front of me.

Anyhow I got to the cinema and they were playing some trailers which made me kind of uncomfortable because there were only old people in that movie theater and the trailers were filled with sex. It’s like watching Game of Thrones with your parents. Trailers aside I really did like what the Royal Opera House came up with for this evening. Because in my very little experience, that was this one time I saw their new production of Les Troyens at the movie theater, it wasn’t very dynamic, there’d just be the opera and nothing playing during the intermissions. But this couldn’t have been more different.

They had this great montage with interviews with all of the singers and showed the rehearsal process and how Kasper Holten, the stage director, came up with the concept for this production. It was about 15 minutes long and it was really cool and very informative. Then we had our host for the evening, none other than the legendary Bryn Terfel! And he was such a great and charming host, as he filled everyone in with the story he also absolutely and completely charmed me. But the overture starts and YAY, it’s Mozart time!

Now I love Don Giovanni, it is hands down my favorite Mozart opera. So I almost know the whole thing by heart and let me tell you I was not disappointed at what I saw. The wonderful orchestra of the Royal Opera House took us away from reality with that astounding overture and before it was over the curtains went up. The set was very interesting, it was a construction with some stairs and some doors with two stories, very simple, all white but add to that some truly remarkable projections and you have magic. During the overture some names started appearing of the walls and later we find out that there were 2065 female names by the end of the overture projected on stage.

We see Leporello in front of a door on the second floor and he sings his mini aria complaining how the boss always gets all the fun and he, well, doesn’t. Leporello was played by Alex Esposito, I had never heard of him before but he gave a fine performance, very funny and very hands on in making this role physically believable. During his aria he took a chalk from his pocket and started writing ‘Anna’ on the door and there was this perfectly synchronized projection following his hand writing. VERY COOL.   

Don Giovanni opens the door quite literally zipping his pants up and Donna Anna follows him and she’s not the face of one who has been bedded against her will. And you know what? I truly prefer productions that portray Anna as a woman who was seduced and did have mind-blowing sex with Don Giovanni and now wants a second round or something. They flirt and kiss and this was turned into a very hot scene actually. The lady playing Anna, Malin Byström, was absolutely spectacular! She had this gorgeous darkish soprano voice that I would think was too heavy for Mozart but she proved me wrong and delivered vocal heavens! Plus she looked gorgeous!

Taking the role of the Don by storm was my personal favorite baritone for the job, Mariusz Kwiecien. Now you all know I’m a huge fan of Mariusz, apart from being a top notch performer he is one of the sweetest and nicest singers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting (and also one of the most attractive ones). He is just so good as the Don! He was my first Don Giovanni back in 2011 at the Met in HD. I do actually remember the first time I went to NYC going to Lincoln Center and seeing a picture of Mariusz as the Don and thinking “Holy shit, this man is perfection”. Anywho Anna’s dad arrives and kinda ruins the party, she flees. Don Giovanni kills him but again, I’ve seen so many endless versions of this opera all with different takes on how the Don feels about killing the Commendatore. The one I like the most was the one they actually used for this production, he kills the Commendatore but not because he wants to but because he has to and does not feel so great about it afterwards.

After that we have that funny recit to break the ice “Leporello, ove sei?” and the two men flee the scene of the crime. Then Anna arrives with her fiancé, Don Ottavio, the guy looked like he was barely 30, which I find kind of risky when it comes to this role. I’ve seen time and time again young tenors screeching this role thinking it’s right for them because “It’s Mozart!”. I actually had a pretty enlightening conversation about that with Gerry Finley (God bless his heart what a wonderful guy!) a couple of months ago and he pointed out that even though it’s easy to read the music it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to sing it. Well this guy looked young and VERY nervous (you would be too if you were being streamed live to all over the world from the stage of the ROH) but he managed to sound ok, although his nervousness blocked the whole character thing and all I could see was a nervous tenor singing the notes just right. But I’m not a very big fan of tenors as a rule so I might be picking on him too much because he’s the only one in the production for me to pick on.

Anna gave an absolute show during the duet, such a beautiful voice! Her type of voice is one of my favorite kinds of female voices, I cannot abide super light high sopranos (maybe just Diana Damrau, but she’s a lyric coloratura, right?). Also when Anna comes back she’s sporting this GORGEOUS black overdress that is, excuse the pun, to die for! Ottavio, looked a bit lost and Anna completely torn between processing her feelings towards her midnight stranger to acknowledging her father’s death.

After that my favorite character in Don Giovanni (and maybe one of my favorite characters in all opera) makes her first appearance. Véronique Gens was playing Donna Elvira, she looked kind of beat up and wet but since she was wearing a sort of rain coat I guess that’s what they were going for. I had never seen this singer before this production and I gathered she’s a mezzo since she was doing the mezzo version. Although her voice wasn’t as powerful as Anna’s she did make up for it with her amazing acting. And again this production read another character just the way I liked it, because some might treat her as a recent conquest of Don Giovanni who is still smitten with him but is able to overcome her feelings by act 2. This one is so not the case and I love it. One of my favorite moments in the first act is when Elvira realizes Giovanni is calling on her (“Signorina”) and she promptly replies “Don Giovanni! Sei qui, mostro, fellon, nido d’inganni!” and in normal productions she would either throw something his way or just hit him. But as this Elvira approached him with her insults it seemed as if his presence drugged her and right after she finished her recit she grabbed him and kissed him. SO COOL! I must confess I’m a fan of passionate stuff and passionate characters so there you go.

And as we all know she’s so taken with him to trust him again and off he goes away from her. Then we have one of my favorite arias that I actually know by heart and by the way by this point I was mouthing/singing softly along to everything. Damn I love this opera! The little book aria is just so hilarious and I love the way every singer who plays Leporello has their own special way of delivering it. Like Luca Pisaroni who is one of the best Leporellos ever has a very personal way of playing this character that is just so amazing. He’s already said that it is one of his favorite roles (if not THE favorite), he was also my first Leporello back in 2011. But Esposito did a fantastic job and I laughed as he stressed new things and used and abused of his acting chest to bring Leporello to life.

The couple sitting next to me would not stop talking, they were talking about the opera but still it was SO IRRITATING and their comments were SO ridiculous. At this point they were arguing that they thought Leporello was a part of Don Giovanni’s imagination, his conscious. They were basically saying that the Don was Pinocchio and that Leporello was Jiminy Cricket. Plus they saw that I was mouthing along so they started trying to guess the next lines based on the subtitles which was rather pathetic since A- that translation REALLY sucked and B- they clearly did not speak Italian, at all.

Anyway after they leave we are brought to Zerlina’s and Masetto’s wedding. Zerlina was played by Elisabeth Watts and Masetto by Dawid Kimberg and they looked so adorable together. Zerlina was much shorter than him but she had feisty air and Masetto was one of those big guys that really can't hurt a fly, kind of Ron Weasley, they looked so cute together.

Did I mention that the stage actually spins? And it’s so amazing how much change they can inflict by simply spinning and changing the lights. The Don spots the party and instantly has his eye set on the girl in the white dress, I think he must think it amusing to seduce a girl out of her engagement on the day of her wedding. Bet he has a special list for those, as well as for nuns. It’s cheerful party and as soon as Zerlina spots the Don she’s intrigued, I mean, who wouldn’t be with a guy that attractive undressing you with his eyes, especially when you have an over seized Ron Weasley for a fiancé.

Anyways, Don Giovanni invites everyone over to his place for a super duper party just so he can be alone with her Zerlina, you gotta give the guy credit for not measuring expenses in order to bang her. Of course Masetto won’t leave quietly and I think it’s so Amadeus Mozart the bit when he says “Faccia il nostro cavaliere cavaliera ancora te”, like he will ride you like a horse. Wow, ok, slow down cowgirl. Sorry about that, I just love the sexual connotations in this opera and they are so ALL over the place!

Then we have that recit followed by “La ci darem la mano” which was one of the first duets I ever sang (said every single female opera singer in the world). I love this duet and it can be done in so many ways and I have to say that again they brought out the exact take on it that I liked. Zerlina is not stupid and gullible, she knows what’s going on and the prospect of being married to a nobleman beats the love and care of peasant Ron Weasley, it just does. The duet was filled with soft touches and promises in part A but as soon as Zerlina cries “Andiam” it escalates real, real quickly and by the end he’s already lifting up her skirts.

And it would have totally happened if Donna Elvira hadn’t walked into them and started calling him names like a crazy person. I love it how the Don is not the least affected by her outburst and promptly makes up an excuse as to why she’s making such accusations that A- seem plausible and B- make Zerlina fell great about herself. What a freaking player, hun? And I know I’m getting a little bit out of production here but the last one they did with Joyce as Donna Elvira when she says “Io sono a tempo di salvar questa misera, innocente dal tuo barbaro artiglio” I just loved the way she said ‘misera’ and ‘innocente’ and the way she looks at Zerlina because she kind of spat it as if saying that Zerlina was everything but miserable and innocent. Gotta love Joyce!

Another small song I really like is “Fuggi il traditor”, Gens did pretty well and I particularly liked her coloratura they were very well treated. She leaves like the mad woman she is but is sure to take Zerlina along with her. The Don is starting to get uneasy about not being able to finish the deal with the peasant bride but his focus in quickly drawn to the couple Ottavio and Anna. Now this whole scene was done in the most interesting way, while Ottavio wasn’t looking the Don made sure he would hit on and flirt as much as he could with the very willing Anna. Very cool because Ottavio is so darn slow and boring in this production anyway. Well, he is slow and boring in most productions anyways.

After they’ve had their trio and the Don gives Anna one last hot kiss on her knuckles and departs. Now for her "Don'Ottavio, son morta" Donna Anna has a real interesting moment because only a moment ago she was quite willingly melting under Don Giovanni’s touch and all of the sudden she’s conflicted for the first time. She gives into her more lustful feeling leaving Ottavio with a ‘I pity you look’ while he wails away one of the most irritating songs ever.

I know, it’s Mozart, and I know its Don Giovanni aka my favorite Mozart opera, BUT, MA, "Dalla sua pace" irritates me thoroughly. Maybe it’s because since it’s a Mozart aria many tenors from my school thought it was ok for them to try and screech it and that kind of traumatized me. Maybe Mozart wrote this aria like this to really mess up with the tenor because it’s a very difficult piece. 

I say this because it wouldn’t be the first time that Wolfie did that, you know that great aria called Come Scoglio from Cosi Fan Tutte? Well, Wolfie wasn’t a big fan of the soprano who played Fiordiligi and he knew she had a habit of rising her head up for high notes and lowering it down for the low notes. That’s why he wrote phrases like "Far che cangi affetto il cor" like this: Far (in middle voice) che (one octave up) can (goes down again) gi (goes up again) affe (down) tto (up) il cor (normal). Just to see her make a fool of herself, and people still ask me why I love Mozart! The guy writes something to fuck up with someone and it still sounds like a goddamn master piece! Mozart is DA man!

Anyways, that’s why I find that A - Dalla sua Pace was created to haunt and torment tenors. This tenor in particular as I’ve said before appeared to sweat a lot and was very nervous. Adding to the fact that Ottavio is a total idiot and in this song you can hear how absolutely blind Ottavio is. Although that depends on the production, in this one he looks like a complete fool. And if I'm being totally honest here I don’t think this guy was old enough to be playing this character. There I’ve said it.

After that we go back to the Don who is kind of annoyed by the fact that he hasn’t gotten laid in the past… 8 maybe 12 hours. I do love this little exchange Leporello and the Don have of telling each other the news of what’s happened. They really did seem like best buddies in this production which I find quite good. They get each other and the Don knows that if he wants to get laid he’ll have to throw a party or something. Lucky for him there’s already one happening in his estate as he speaks! This next aria (commonly known as the Champagne Aria) is one of my personal favorites and many people’s favorite I guess. They did this AMAZING effect where the Don is standing in a doorway and the projections start appearing and spinning, it was quite impressive to see in the movie theater and I can only imagine it was even more striking in the opera house. Luckily, there’s a video!

After they leave we meet up with the soon to be married couple Masetto and Zerlina. And here she’s trying to apologize because she almost ditched him for a sexier, healthier and wittier dude. In this production Masetto is also kind of daft, a little slow and Zerlina who is quick and witty takes complete advantage of that to seduce him during her aria Batti, batti o bel Masetto. Although it’s a lovely tune I’ve grown quite tired of it because I’ve been singing it for what it seems like forever but what I think ruins it for me is the fact EVERY SINGLE SOPRANO IN THE PLANET sings this aria.

When she finishes the aria it’s all good until they hear the Don’s voice and she kind of freaks. He’s having the so talked about party! Interestingly enough in this scene in which the Don is supposed to make Zerlina feel ashamed she actually turns the tables around and trick him. I found that most refreshing for when the dance music starts and people start to dance Zerlina takes the Don up stairs. Then our good (slightly boring) trio of Avengers appears all masked up, Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Don Ottavio, they plan to crash the party and expose the Don for what he truly is. They sing about it for about 5 minutes and I must confess that’s not one of the opera’s high lights for me. Leporello spots the trio of masquerades and invites them in, they come in and everything is running as the Don wants. Leporello is distracting Masetto, 99% of the party is drunk and Zerlina is heading upstairs with him with a malicious smile on her face. When she starts to take her clothes off the Don does believe he’s won the lottery until she cries “Gente, aiuto! Aiuto, gente!” and the Don is like “WTF?” and flees.

The boring trio takes this opportunity to reveal their true identity and starts throwing insults all over the place directed at the Don. But he is too clever and quickly grabs Leporello saying he was the one who was trying to have his way with Zerlina. At this point everyone is singing insults to the Don saying his mask has finally come off ,traditore, scellerato amongst other names are used and seeing that there’s no way out the Don flees.

End of act one. I didn’t comment more about the couple sitting a few chairs from me who insisted in talking throughout the whole thing but let me just make it clear that they wouldn’t shut it for a minute. People in the movie theater were quite mad. But anyhow, at intermission we had this wonderful interview with Kasper Holten and even more wonderful because Bryn was conducting it. It was really a shame that this wasn’t live because live stuff does give me butterflies in my stomach knowing that it’s happening at that moment but I guess I should be thankful that it had reached me somehow in Brazil, nonetheless in my home town.

The interview was again very fun and lighthearted. I do LOVE Kasper’s work and especially when he’s given the opportunity to work in a piece he truly LOVES like last year with Eugene Onegin that he did a masterpiece and now with Don Giovanni. You can see that the guy knows the piece inside out and has been thinking about each of those characters for years and now he’s given the chance to show his view and his take on the Don Juan masterpiece.

They took some questions from twitter and since it’s been almost two months I don’t really remember them. But I do remember one directed to Bryn asking if he would be tempted to play the Don if he did this production and he said “No”. But not because of the production but because he never felt he was the right person to play this role, he felt much more comfortable playing Leporello.

Well act two and I find myself another seat away from the talkative couple. But as soon as they start their chitchat this man turns around and raves at them to shut the fuck up. It was so glorious! I loved that man! Even though I heard him say, “Oh, I don’t know. I like this opera but I like operas that have more orchestra like La Traviata. This one has barely any orchestra” and “Oh yes, Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca are both from Russia”. I always say that if you don’t know stuff don’t say anything, you will sound STUPID.

Anyhow, this first part of the second act is one of my favorites! So the Don is now having to persuade Leporello to stick around but Leporello won’t have any of it. The Don then offers him some money and Leporello is quickly back to his side. But he does plead to the Don to “Purché lasciam le donne” (So long as we leave the women alone) and the Don’s response is one of my favorite line in the whole opera “Lasciar le donne! Pazzo! Lasciar le donne! Sai ch’elle per me son necessarie più pan che mangio, più dell’aria che spiro!” (Leave the women? Idiot! Leave the women! Don’t you know they are more necessary to me than the air that I breathe or the bread that I eat?) to which Leporello replies “E avete core d’ingannarle poi tutte?” (And still you deceive all of them?) and the Don simply says “È tutto amore. Chi a una sola è fedele verso l’altre è crudele: io, che in me ento sì esteso sentiment, vo’ bene a tutte quante: le donne poi, che calcolar non sanno, il mio buon natural chiamano inganno.” (I do it becaue I love them! Who is faithful to one is cruel to the others. I’m a man whose heart is so large that I love all of them, Women simply don’t understand me. They think that my natural generosity is some sort of deceit.)

And even though I laugh and go “son of a bitch” every time I hear that recit, I also get it. He is the kind of person that can’t really compromise to only one person and I get that because one of my best friends is just like that. She grows bored of having the same person and needs to constantly change, in today’s world that’s really ok, but back then things were more complicated. And the Don had to lie in order to get what he wanted, do you know how many girls he would have bedded if he’d been honest and said he only wanted to spend the night with them? A lot of women still but certainly not 2065. I know I might sound like a horrible person defending Don Giovanni but whatever, I don’t care!

Anyways, the Don now needs Leporello to pretend that he is in fact the Don to distract Donna Elvira while the actual Don seduces her chamber maid. This trio is truly hilarious, it consists in Leporello being out there dressed as the Don mouthing what the Don is saying to Donna Elvira and her in the balcony having an inner battle as to what to do, should I stay or should I go? I think the music written for this is so gorgeous. The clash between Donna Elvira’s melancholy doubts, the Don’s false declarations of affection and Leporello’s attempts to restrain his laugher is truly the work of genius. Mozart, God bless his heart!

One thing that did disappoint me a little bit was the recit right after this trio when Leporello pretends to be Don Giovanni to a very willing Donna Elvira. He hid more than he hit on her and that frustrated the scene for me a little bit because along with the trio it’s one of my favorite moments in the opera.

After Leporello and Donna Elvira leave the Don is alone by the balcony and starts to serenade. Seriously, if a guy like that ever sang “Deh viene alla finestra” to me I don’t even dare to think what I would do. It’s one of my favorite arias in this opera, my favorite for the Don DEFINETLY. It’s smooth and it’s full of promise and contained passion. And Mariusz is like utter perfection singing this, he IS the Don. Charm and charm and charm and you’re lost! What was most certainly unnecessary was that the chamber maid came down the stairs while he sang to her and at the end of the aria she took all her clothes off and was stark naked on stage. That did win some gasps from the audience and God why make the lady take her clothes off? Just to show how persuasive Don Giovanni can be? If she’s grabbed him and kissed him or made some sort of let’s do it gesture it would have sent the same message. I don’t know, I think that since this is set in Spain I just don’t see any Spanish woman doing that. Maybe the Italians would do that but not Spanish women, they are very proud and far too self-certain to have to resort to taking their clothes off to attract the attention of a gentleman. Italians are more careless in that matter and I don’t mean it in a bad way, what I mean is that Italians would have totally have been carried by the heat of the moment and take their clothes off like that in front of him on the street. But the Spanish women would have probably gestured for him to come up and THEN taken her clothes off.

Anyways as we all know the Don’s rondevu is cut short by the annoying Masetto and the naked girl is kept in the corner covering herself with her own dress. Anyways, the Don pretends to be Leporello and to be fighting for Masetto’s cause to kill the Don. But the moment he turns around the Don beats him up and flees. Zerlina finds her poor, poor, stupid fiancé and tell him he’ll make him feel better with her magic medicine (aka I’ll let you touch my boobs and I’ll kiss you wherever you want). Vedrai Carino is another lovely aria that I know back and forth and am oh of tired of listening to because everyone thinks it’ alright to sing it. But anyways…

Then we go back to Donna Elvira and Leporello who undoubtfully have been having their fun. But Leporello is quite tired of her and is eager to be free of her affections. This is one of those Mozart things that starts off as a duet, then another duet and before you know it it’s a huge sextet with complicated lines for everyone involved. And as more characters appear each one has a door and the projections come in a way as if they are all walking in hallways, it’s really quite amazing. You see as Leporello is trying to escape Masetto grabs hold of him and Donna Elvira starts to plead in his defense. But the other members of the sextet are not as forgiving and want “Don Giovanni” dead. Seeing no way out Leporello reveals his true identity to everyone’s surprise and to Donna Elvira’s misery. I do pity her, poor woman. Sometimes I’m even led to believe that she knew that it wasn’t Don Giovanni all along but living a little fantasy for a bit is better than sitting alone in her room. Well that really depends on the production.

After this fun sextet everybody comes at Leporello with fifteen hundred stones accusing him of doing the things the Don did as well as the other things the Don did discussed as Leporello, quite a lot of stuff. But Leporello wouldn’t be working for a man such as Don Giovanni if he wasn’t cunning and before you know it after uttering some confusing excuses he flees like the wind.

Then we go back to tenor terror. I’m sorry I might be sounding rather mean and the guy wasn’t all that bad but I felt he was not ready for this kind of job. Not ready for such a role in such a house in such circumstances. I’m not even gonna comment on the aria, let’s just skip that because that’s also not my favorite piece of music ever.

After that we do get some juicy singing from Donna Elvira and she did such a marvelous job. This aria is absolutely heart breaking, a woman clearly so in love with a man she knows will never feel the same for her. And still she loves him and seeks him, it’s very sad and when translated into music absolutely gorgeous. This is definitely one of those arias I would LOVE to sing.

When Donna Elvira leaves Leporello appears to meet Don Giovanni next to a cemetery. As they tell each other what’s happened they can hear a sinister voice coming from the graveyard. While Leporello wets his pants the Don is quite intrigued. In this production they have a bust of the Commendatore as the vessel from which he communicates with the Don in this scene. Even though Leporello is scared half to death he does as his master commands and invites the Commendatore for dinner in the behalf of his master. The Don isn’t half amused by all this and actually throws the bust from the second floor it comes apart in a million pieces on stage.    

On the original libretto the Don and Leporello leave so Donna Anna can come in and deliver her big aria. But in this most intriguing production the Don stays behind and watches the exchange between Anna and Ottavio. While Ottavio I trying to persuade her to think about their engagement Anna is resolute in not thinking in anything but her father’s death. But in this production it’s quite different because even though she’s indeed thinking about her father she’s also still pondering on her encounter with the Don. So after he shoos Ottavio away and starts singing her aria the Don appears and yet again wants to draw her near to him. But it is at this point that she realizes he is not what she needs, he is not what he wants. He was necessary for her to open up her eyes to see that there’s so much more out there and that she could make her choices herself. I find this one of the best interpretations of this aria/moment and yet this is the first time I’ve seen it used. And by the way, the singer was amazing. What a magnificent voice, she was simply DIVINE! She got quite an ovation and well deserved!

Finally last scene and we are back at the Don’s estate where he is dinning. We have that whole scene where he eats and Leporello is starving and he boasts at all life’s pleasures etc… Donna Elvira appears, she wants to give him another chance, she’s so in love but he’s rude and kind of an ass to her. And again, she can’t really change him because she feel for who he is, if he does change he will not be the man she feel for therefor she is condemned to suffer. She leaves just in time for the Commendatore to arrive. From the many, many interpretations of this scene that I’ve seen this has to be one of the best.

They don’t even come face to face, the Don is on ground floor while the Commendatore is right above him on the first floor. They have their exchange and Leporello pleads and pleads for his master to stop. The idea of this was that in this end the Don wouldn’t be sent to hell by a ginormous fireball but would go to his personal version of hell, to be alone. As the scene proceeds all the projections of names start to fade, Leporello leaves and even the Commendatore. At the end he is in hell, he is alone, nothing around him but plain white from the stage. He gets to his knees and cries out in the moment where he should be engulfed by the fires of hell but nothing happens and he is alone. He looks at the audience and you can see that this loneliness is worse than any other punishment for the man who has broken the hearts of 2065 women. The End!

Holy shit, that was the very BEST production of Don Giovanni I’ve ever seen! So incredible, the crowd went wild and I was delirious! It was really quite an experience. I love the ROH, after the Met it’s my favorite Opera House. Wow, this post is SO ENORMOUS! It took long enough to write I can tell you that. Well I’m gonna be off now, thanks for reading!