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Subject: The Undead
From: Greg Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Greg Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 12 Jun 2001 13:07:07 -0700

text/plain (10 lines)

    After reading the thread on the apotheosis/resurrection/whatever of Mimi, my reaction is that at least the director let her die. It seems to be all the rage these days for opera characters to survive the deaths that the composers and librettists condemned them to.
    This weekend I saw Elektra at Long Beach Opera. At the end of the production, the title character packed a suitcase and wandered out the door, on her way to the rest of her life. This is just the latest of many recent  examples. The Lehnhoff Parsifal, most recently at San Francisco a year ago (and, by the way, one of my favorite productions of any opera), had Parsifal following Kundry offstage at the end, perhaps to found their own chain of little Montsalvalettes. One reads of Elsas and Isoldes alive and kicking as the curtain descends.
    The best I can figure is that modern medicine has managed to find a cure for SODS.   :-)
    At least the other opera I saw this weekend did have Tosca take the plunge at the end, although even there she dawdled on the parapet so long after her final line that I thought she was going to wait to read the reviews before deciding whether or not to plummet.  
    I am not sure that all of opera's deaths are really necessary, Elsa in particular from the above examples. But, Kundry really should expire.
    By the way, for LA area listers, there is one more performance of the Long Beach Elektra next Saturday. If you didn't see it last Sunday, I would highly recommend catching it. Susan Marie Pierson sang a thrilling Elektra, with the rest of the cast also fine. The production is rather quirky, set in dysfunctional suburbia circa 1960. Though I thought it seemed to slightly trivialize a story rooted in heros, gods, and archetypes (with a score to match), it was consistent in its own internal logic and worked well enough. The opera was sung in English, though I'm not sure why they bothered; I found almost none of the words intelligible, especially from Diedra Palmour's otherwise excellent Chrysothemis. 

Greg Armstrong, Santa Barbara, CA    [log in to unmask]


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