I saw the American premiere of Saint Francois at San Francisco Opera five years ago. I caught only one performance, and note the following:
- I'm a Messiaen fan. I love Turangalila, Quator pour la fin du temps, and almost everything else I have heard by him.
- Saint Francois was the closest thing to torture I have ever experienced in the opera house or concert hall. I stumbled out of the second act thinking it had lasted three hours and was shocked to find it had only been 90 minutes.
- I was sufficiently traumatized by the "Sermon to the Birds" - and the preparatory discussion of the birds - that I flinched months later at the birdsong in Kata Kabanova.
- The night I saw St. Francois, I told a friend in instant messages that "St. Francois makes Parsifal look like Die Fledermaus."