Tickets and program
After some back and forth with myself, I took Wednesday, July 1, off work and went to the last Troyens performance. I also dragged a friend there, which involved offering her my ticket in the Dress Circle, buying one of two remaining seats in the orchestra, and getting my girlfriend on the phone with her to tell her that she had to go.
At the end of the performance, she looked at me and said "Let's plan a trip to Vienna," which of course is where the McVicar production is headed next (as far as we know, because who knows which production Chicago is doing next fall). And also "I have a new favorite opera." My life's work might be done.
I also took my tickets to the next-to-last Figaro and swapped it for Troyens tickets for friends who didn't have the budget to see it. I mean, how could I not? Those signs outside the opera house saying "Once in a lifetime" might be right, given how expensive it is to stage. But I also think that this run proved that there is an audience for the opera, which is as it should be. As far as I can tell, from having looked at the ticketing page for each performance, it was pretty close to a sellout.
About that last performance: yes, Bryan Hymel did sing it, and yes, he was in great form, and so was everybody else. It was a breathtakingly great performance, with everyone giving their all, one of those performances everyone who attended will be remembering decades from now.
I think having Hymel on stage was certainly part of it, given his star quality and magnificent singing, but also, it was the last performance of a great run, and it was an OperaVision night, with the cameras rolling.
OperaVision exists partly to provide a closer view for the balcony audience, which is pretty damn far away from the stage, and also to capture video for possible TV or movie theater screenings. The company uses the system for three performances of each run. For Troyens, they filmed 1, 2, and 6. Presumably, they'd use primarily performances 1 and 6, because the second performance was one of those where Cassandre was sung by Michaela Martens. I saw that, and she was excellent, but Antonacci is one of the stars, so they'd use 1 or 6 for the Troy scenes with Cassandre, meaning....most of the two acts.
The company has been able to broadcast several operas each season on KQED for the last few years. Troyens has the disadvantage of taking up four hours of air time, and the advantage of being a great, great opera given a terrific run of performances. So we'll see if it turns up on TV. I certainly hope so.