Everybody has some operatic treasure in mind, persistent and wonderful.
We remember every detail of a student production at the University of
Iowa some years ago. It was Suor Angelica. The set was all composed of
something solid but transparent, like lucite, the nunnery, the flowers
and herbs in the garden,the pedestal for the statue of the Virgin.
Everything was lighted from below, so that the translucent flowers were
green and other colors, the nunnery was a blackish-brown, the Virgin and
pedestal in grey. All nuns were dressed in white habits. When the Aunt
came in, the colors all darkened. As Angelica was dying, all the
lighting gradually changed to white, which became blinding at the finale.
To everyone's surprise, the Virgin was a real person who held very still
during the opera. She came down from the pedestal in flowing white robes
and was a ballet dancer on point, delicate and graceful. From behind the
pedestal came a little child. The Virgin turned and gently pushed the
child toward its dying mother. The female chorus swelled and was piped
to speakers on all four walls of the theater. Some might find this
staging corny, melodramatic. We were deeply moved,as we have never been
moved by any other production before or since. And to think that this
wonderful experience was created by students from the opera and dance
departments of a university!
JAY [log in to unmask]