Results tagged “Carlisle Floyd” from onegoodmove

Gypsy's opera picks

It's opera time at many universities; the big performances are saved until the end of the semester. A friend of mine was asking about opera and wondering good ones to attend. For the newbies I don't pick easy, but what I think would captivate the attention and imagination of most people. So here are 3 that I think serve the proliferation of opera well:

Carlisle Floyd Susannah: this is based on the Biblical story of Susannah, but is set in mid 20th century backwater America. The tight community casts a wary eye on the beautiful Susanna, as does the preacher sent to save her soul. Renée Fleming sings "Ain't it a Pretty Night,", Susannah's big aria in the opening of the drama. You can listen to excerpts from the entire opera on Amazon.

Georges Bizet Carmen: if you're gonna attend a 4 hour long opera, this is a good place to start (save Wagner for when you're completely obsessed). The teenage cigarette factory worker falls in love with the soldier Don José, and life unravels from there. This opera is based on the Spanish novel by the same name, and the story has been retold in the music Carmen Jones and the production *Carmen: hip-hopera," as well as a flamenco film.

One of the best Carmens I've witnessed is Kirstin Chavez; she's got the look and the goods to play her own castanets when the moment arrives. The only video of her in the role I could find is when Carmen's having her tarot cards read, and her fate ain't quite as good as that of her girlfriends. You can hear excerpts on Amazon. I'm partial to the Julia Migenes and Placido Domingo performance and film, but it's no longer available; if you find it in a thrift store, go for it.

on the lighter side:

Mozart Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute): supposedly the opera that set the Masons against Wolfie, this opera has a bitchy mother, a love story (natch), and always unusual costumes for Papageno (the bird catcher) and Papagena. My favorite performance was at UNC-Greensboro, in which the director super-imposed a chess game over the action. I'm going to another version tonight! Here's Detlef Roth and Gaël LeRoi performing the Papageno-Papagena duet (in German with french subtitles; you'll get the gist). Here's another Papageno feature in which his mouth has been locked, with Nathan Gunn (this one in English with english subtitles). Listen to more here.