LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 15.5

Help for OPERA-L Archives


OPERA-L Archives

OPERA-L Archives


View:

Next Message | Previous Message
Next in Topic | Previous in Topic
Next by Same Author | Previous by Same Author
Chronologically | Most Recent First
Proportional Font | Monospaced Font

Options:

Join or Leave OPERA-L
Reply | Post New Message
Search Archives


Subject: Re: The audience sighs as one
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 8 Aug 2017 12:11:23 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
Parts/Attachments

text/plain (77 lines)


I have one very special memory where the entire audience was almost transfigured.  I shared this privately with another poster yesterday, but I think I'll share it with the whole Board.
     I was lucky enough to see Jon Vickers as Otello in Chicago (I was in my first year of Undergraduate School and it was October, 1963 (about a month before the JFK tragedy). Sena Jurinac and Tito Gobbi were Desdemona and Iago, respectably.  First of all Vicker's Otello was the ultimate (for me).  Even from the beginning of the Love Duet, one could easily perceive that this Otello had a beast/monster sleeping within him. Scary as hell.  Vickers was an awesome actor, and he turned Otello into a downright frightening looking man. his body movements were magical, and he was in spectacular voice.  He projected a power that one is lucky to see once in a lifetime.  But he didn't pull out the full deck until the Venetian Scene, where he imploded and exploded at the same time.  He and Gobbi must have worked out some unique stage business because it is hard to imagine what I saw was mere "stage movements".  Both Gobbi and Jurinac were in full sync with Vickers.
     In the final act, when Vickers entered (after Jurinac's beautiful Willow Song and Ave Maria), his mere presence made you know what was about to happen.  He walked like a dark behemoth and of course we know what happened.  At very end, as Otello uttered his final "baccio" phrase, the curtains very slowly descended and finally closed.  Eight seconds of dead silence in the audience.  Then came the most thunderous applause and hysteria I've heard in any opera house.  It's over a half century ago, but I will never, NEVER forget it as long as I live.
     Guess you don't have to wonder which tenor favorite Otello was.  For me, it was Vickers and then everyone else.  I still get the chills when I talk about that night. 
> On August 8, 2017 at 11:38 AM "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 
> Ray mentions his Tosca and the exhilarating "rock star" experience it aff
> afforded.  I'm beginning to think Tosca is THE opera that can best do this.
> 
> Pardon the length of my post, but all this talk has me recalling a Tosca in D
> DC from 1997 which remains one of the most vividly produced pieces of t
> theatre I can recall and, where more than once, did the audience "sigh" o
> or "gasp" as one.
> 
> The first gasp occurred when the lovers, cavorting a tad more sensually 
> than usual, found Tosca's hand grabbing Mario's butt, then sliding it up
> up . . . . well, the middle.  
> 
> The second act was terrifying; an almost ridiculously handsome, 
> bodybuilder-type Scarpia had a propensity toward violence, and repeatedly 
> tossed Tosca around like a rag doll, slamming her onto the floor, onto the 
> couch and into a marble column.  People were gasping throughout.  At 
> Tosca's “Oh! Dio! ... che avviene!' where she rises to (I believe) a Bb, Scarpia
> Scarpia hurled her onto the fainting sofa so hard she bounced back up ca
> causing her to scream the end of the Bb, as she gained her balance to keep fr
> from falling off the couch into the pit.  Then before writing the safe passage no
> note, he tried to mount her from behind.  
> 
> Victimized and brutalized by this monster it was understandable this Tosca 
> had lost it and she went after him like a lioness unleashed, plunging the 
> blade into him over and over.  He fell, and tried to crawl away, but she 
> hunted him down, sticking it to him again, then, straddling his body, as he 
> grabbed her by the neck trying to choke her to death.  Her choked, stifled 
> screams of “Mouri” were horrifying as she jammed the blade into him once 
> more, loosening his grip.  The audience began cheering and clapping like it 
> was an action adventure movie, shouts of “Yesss!” and “Alright!” punctuating Puccini.  Not everyone liked this (understandably), as half my row left affording me a center seat on the aisle for act 3.  
> 
> Then, when this Tosca (wonderfully sung and acted by Susan Foster) let out her great cry at the top of the parapet . . . and, still facing the audience, arms outstretched, fell backwards to her death, there were screams and gasps of 
> punctuating Puccini.  Not everyone liked this (understandably), as half my ro
> row left affording me a center seat on the aisle for act 3.  
> 
> Then, when this Tosca (wonderfully sung and acted by Susan Foster) let 
> out her great cry at the top of the parapet . . . and, still facing the 
> audience, arms outstretched, fell backwards to her death, there were 
> screams and gasps of “Oh, my god!”  
> 
> While I wouldn’t want every performance to be done like this, once in a 
> while – or at least once – you gotta love it!
> 
> p.
> 
> **********************************************
> OPERA-L on Facebook:
> http://www.facebook.com/groups/25703098721/
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message to [log in to unmask]
> containing only the words:  SIGNOFF OPERA-L
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To stay subscribed but TURN OFF mail, send a message to
> [log in to unmask] containing only the words:  SET OPERA-L NOMAIL
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Modify your settings: http://listserv.bccls.org/archives/opera-l.html
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------

**********************************************
OPERA-L on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/25703098721/
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message to [log in to unmask]
containing only the words:  SIGNOFF OPERA-L
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
To stay subscribed but TURN OFF mail, send a message to
[log in to unmask] containing only the words:  SET OPERA-L NOMAIL
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Modify your settings: http://listserv.bccls.org/archives/opera-l.html
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back to: Top of Message | Previous Page | Main OPERA-L Page

Permalink



LISTSERV.BCCLS.ORG

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager