Monday, July 18, 2005

Berkeley Opera

My review of the Berkeley Opera potted Meistersinger will be up at SFCV tomorrow; suffice it to say that the performance is a mixed bag, but I heartily approve of the edition, which sends 90 minutes of overblown twaddle about the creation of "heil'ge Deutsche Kunst" straight into oblivion, leaving behind a less-ponderous opera that almost approaches wit.

My idea of an operatic comedy? Le Nozze di Figaro, say, or Falstaff. For that matter, the Ping/Pang/Pong music in Turandot is wittier than anything in Meistersinger.

And speaking of Falstaff, Berkeley Opera is performing Verdi's great masterpiece next season. I hope they have enough players and rehearsal time to put across the quicksilver orchestral writing, but what a pleasure it will be to see and hear it in the tiny Julia Morgan Theater, where the performers don't have to be larger than life to make an impression. The other offerings are equally interesting: a new work by Clark Suprynowicz and John O'Keefe, and an adaptation by the brilliant David Scott Marley of La Fanciulla del West. Considering his superb work on The Riot Grrrl on Mars, Bat Out of Hell, and other operas, I can't wait.

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