Friday, October 23, 2009


Love at First Sight

(Note: Home from the middle of my book tour . . . I attended the opera, and wrote up this small report).

When I learned that Renee Fleming and Susan Graham would be singing in Der Rosenkavalier this season at the Met, I rushed to get tickets to not just one, but two performances. Sadly, one of those dates is just before I'm due, and I doubt I'll go. But I did manage to make the show last night, which has justly lauded by critics. The singing and music were superb and I was delighted to revisit an old friend.

I saw this opera probably fifteen years ago--perhaps even with the cast you see here. I remember calling my father afterward in a daze--I was still in college. I think I even did standing room for the entire 5 hours. "What did you think?" he asked. "That second act . . . " "The pinnacle of opera. The height of 20th century music," he affirmed.

Here it is--in all its sublime glory. Here's the moment where Octavian and Sophie meet and fall in love, setting in motion a number of events that will of course impact everyone else in the story. I'd forgotten how much of Act III devolves into farce, so strong was the impression of Act II on my memory. I've wondered before how writers can convincingly write love; I think perhaps that music accomplishes some things better than words.

As an added bonus, my friend Jeffrey and I had a special pass to the "Belmont Room," which I am currently describing as the Red Carpet Club of the Metropolitan Opera House. It was fun to eat our biscotti among so many sequined women striding up and down the room. Ah, access.

(The singers here are not the two I saw, but Barbara Bonney and Anne Sophie Von Otter. I can't find my particular cast.)

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