Tonight I attended my first opera and my first tweetup. Opera Columbus hosted tonight's Columbus Tweetup. Quite frankly, I've never like opera and hadn't really planned to go to any. But I like ballet and other musicals, so this event provided a good opportunity to explore.
Tonight's performance of The Pearl Fishers was the dress rehearsal. Opera Columbus invites students and seniors to watch the rehearsal and hear from the folks who produce the show. It is a great way to get to know opera firsthand. Being new to opera, it was helpful for me to get this introduction. I hadn't realized that modern opera has added a screen with supertitles to let the audience know what the music is about. This makes the opera so much more accessible to "common" folks. (By common folks, I mean those of us who have French teacher moms but still can't understand French! i.e. ME.)
The opera itself was a little cheesy. I think my perspective is distorted by modern film. John rents some great movies and we always investigate the history behind the true stories and watch the extra footage to get the back-story. This story about 19th century Sri Lanka as told for a Victorian Parisian audience just didn't do it for me.
I am a major fan of Les Misérables and have read the book and seen that production both in Columbus and New York. I definitely got the sense that Bizet was influenced by Hugo. It appears that Les Mis was released a year before The Pearl Fishers. And from what I gather on Wikipedia, Bizet adapted music from some of Hugo's poetry, so maybe I'm onto something. (It was Leila's memory of hiding the thief to save him and being rewarded with the necklace that reminded me of Cosette and Valjean.)
At any rate, it seems more research is in order. I would love to learn more about how this opera fits with the culture of 1863 when it first came to the stage. And how can such a piece still be interesting today?
On one other note... Welcome back, Columbus Symphony! The symphony returns this weekend with The Pearl Fishers. There are two performances: Friday, October 24 at 8pm and Sunday, October 26 at 2pm. If you are looking for something to do this weekend, check it out!