Despite the circumstances, it was a thrill for me to learn that Valerio Tura
was a member of this list, since the Teatro Comunale in Bologna is
architecturally and artistically one of the world's outstanding opera houses
and companies. I believe that, in its current version designed by
Galli-Bibiena and opened in 1763, it may also be the oldest?
In answer to S. Tura's post, though I don't qualify as an opera
frequent-flyer, I am interested in experiencing different opera venues, both
for the houses themselves and to enjoy the different audiences and customs.
Of course, I also choose by operas or particular singers I want to see--for
example, the first time I went to the Teatro Com. in Bologna was because I
particularly wanted to see Leo Nucci, at that time (1986) a relatively new
name to me.
Some examples of particular enjoyment in (to me) unfamiliar venues:
Innsbruck - a charming small opera house, with many members of the audience
in national dress (perhaps it was a first night--the opera was The Flying
La Fenice - I'm grateful I got to see it before it burned down. It was
indeed a jewel (the opera I particularly remember seeing there was Attila
with Ramey--our daughter was very taken with his bare chest!)
Teatro alla Pergola in Florence--first time there (the theatre, not
Florence) last year for Poppaea; I hadn't known where it was, tucked down
that little street right in the heart of Florence, nor did I know its
distinguished history of premieres.
Benedum Center, Pittsburgh. A very interesting conversion, and a taste of
what I think of as mid-America, though the reason for being there was not
the venue or the audience, but the thwarted expectation of seeing Pav sing
Werther (in the event he sang half of Tosca).
La Monnaie--another small jewel. We had excellent seats front row centre of
what I think of as the Circle--but the design isn't the same as the Italian
classic horseshoe. The program was the particular appeal--Dido and Aeneas,
and a world premiere (the name of which slips my memory, oh shame!)
Assimilating the ambience of the building and the people, particularly in
new places, is certainly for me a big contributor to the excitement of being
at the opera.
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