Monday, August 4, 2008
Gah, I say.
I've just finished my article for tomorrow's edition of San Francisco Classical Voice. It was hard. Why was it hard? Because I forced myself to be polite.
"Molly," T.d'A. and I drove down to hear Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio in San Jose. It was part of the Midsummer Mozart Festival.
You can read about the opera here or here. The second one has sound clips.
Here's what I would have said if I were being honest:
If you're a theater, say, the California Theater in San Jose, you should know that having one person in the box office is dumb. Really effing dumb. If you're a theater and you notice that the line stretches more than a block down the street, you should get your head out of your ass get more people into the box office to deal with that. Furthermore, if you're a theater whose box office/will call line stretches that far at 7:25, you hold the curtain until at least some of the audience is seated. You don't start the overture with a nearly empty theater and you MOST CERTAINLY don't bitch at your patrons for their "late arrival" when they've been in line outside for an hour.
George Cleve rocks. I'm not saying that because he's a friend of my dad's, nor because I'm kissing up (I want to work for him at some point), but because he's a really good conductor. He especially rocks at Mozart (which is good, considering his concert series is called the Midsummer MOZART Festival). A lot of the time he conducts from memory (without a score in front of him), which is about as bad-ass as you can get. The orchestra rocked out. He hires some awesome musicians. He hires less awesome singers.
The guy singing Belmonte sucked. Yeah, he was handsome, but his singing was really muffled and covered, and his acting was wooden. In the last act, he had one part on one duet that actually sounded okay, but generally yuck.
The woman singing Konstanze had way too big and hefty a voice for the role. She had the high notes, but the medium high ones were really splat-y and her lower register wasn't supported. Her hands were really creepy, and you should never, ever, ever, ever sing with both arms out to the sides. Unless you're playing Jesus in a passion play and you're on a cross. She, obviously, was not.
The Pedrillo was listed as an Adler Fellow, which seems incomprehensible to me, since his singing was so forced and pinched. His acting was very good, though, and he was funny.
The Blonde was very good, on the whole. She aced that "petite spitfire with claws" thing, and was perky and energetic. Her first aria was remarkably grounded, considering it's high, hard, and happens immediately upon entering the stage. Her second one was a little unsupported, but nicely acted and interesting.
The Osmin, a big bear of a character, was amazing. This guy sounded great, all resonant and deep and yummy. I'm a sucker for a good bass voice. He was also hilarious.
I couldn't hear the chorus over the orchestra, so I didn't mention them in my review. I figured that no good could come of that....
The staging was simple, but very humourous and fun. I would have had a good time, overall, had the logistics not been so horrible. It's always fun to see something with friends and then snark all the way home. But maybe my friends and I are just really mean.....