Last night, I headed up to the city for one of the more unusual symphony performances this season, Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex and The Nightingale. The SFS occasionally performs arias, but this was the first time I’d ever seen them actually stage operas whole, with operatic singers, classical ballet, and even subtitles projected above the stage. I’ve gone to see classical music live for as long as I can remember, but before this, I’d never seen an opera. Now I’ve seen two, and I have to admit, they were fun.
They were also very different. The music may not entirely take a back seat to the story, but it definitely plays second fiddle to the singers. It’s a whole different world from the concertos and sonatas and symphonies I know and love. To truly appreciate it, I’d need to learn a lot more about opera. At three or four hours per, though, plus damage to my eardrums (kidding), I’m not terribly inclined to get opera season tickets.
Still, this was a great introduction. The sets were gorgeous, the music was eerily striking – classic Stravinsky – and the performers were incredible. Granted, Oedipus Rex wasn’t quite as tight as it could have been – most of the story was told by a narrator which broke the flow – , but The Nightingale was absolutely gorgeous. Plus, at around an hour each, they were perfect for my attention span. :P
All in all, it was a great night. I admit, I’m looking forward to getting back to basics with the next performance, a Beethoven piano concerto. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the detour into opera.