I have just returned from the encore performance of the Met’s production of “Anna Bolena”. I’ve been looking forward to hearing this opera for many months. Alas, it was a strenuous day (as Wednesdays tend to be). As soon as I hit my seat and the lights went down I went right to sleep. To be more accurate, I struggled four hours to stay awake, which left me neither alert nor refreshed. It was a disappointment. It didn’t help the set was dark and gloomy and the opera ‘static’. Someone had to continually poke me in the ribs to keep me from nodding. By the end of the ordeal I was cheering for the executioner to hurry up and chop of the diva’s head as soon as possible and end the damn thing.
Over the years I have seen an evolution of the opera singer going from the cliche ‘fat lady’ to the slim and sexy type, both male and female. The folks in charge at The Met are no fools. To get people to go and stare at a opera singer for hours on a large screen they ought to be pretty. The trend towards youth on the screen is in curious contrast to the aging of the opera audience. At 50 years old I am one of the younger ones. Oldster audiences are just as obnoxious as adolescent ones. They may not text but they talk – something they would never do if the opera was ‘live’.
This Saturday we go back to attend ‘Siegfried”. It is another long one, so we will bring provisions and a change of underwear. Happily, this one is in the morning; I may have sufficient sleep to stay awake long enough for good Herr Siegfried to wake up Brunhilde for their competitive singing finale.