Friday, November 27, 2009

Around Town - La Opera - The Trouble With Tamerlano

While I love baroque music and appreciate vocal acrobatics, I've never been a fan of baroque opera and this season's Tamerlano, composed by Handel in 1734, performed by the LA Opera didn't make me a fan.

There was nothing at all wrong with the performance, and I liked the stark set and modern costumes. But listening to countertenor Bejun Mehta just made me squirm a little. Not that his performance wasn't technically brilliant, it was. It's just that opera is pretty much all about the same thing....some guy wants to nail some girl...who is in love with some other guy, drama ensues, somebody dies and the girl gets the guy she wants. So like with all dramatic stories, there's a hero, a heroine and a heavy.

Well having a countertenor sing the part of the heavy, Tarter emperor Tamerlano, and then having a mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon sing the trouser role part of hero Andronico, was just out of my comfort zone. Just listen to Mehta in the clip that I posted. How can you take a heavy seriously when he sings with a soprano voice that is almost higher than the mezzo-soprano. People, that's just weird.

And then we had Placido Domingo singing the part of Bajazet, the Turkish Sultan who has been conquered by Tamerlano. For me Domingo is a romantic hero in the Verdi or Pucchini mold, with deep emotional range of a brooding latin lover, not a trilling baroque Sultan.

But soprano Sarah Coburn as Asteria sang beautifully and looked like a dream in her confection of wedding gown.

In spite of what the LA times review said, I didn't think that the modern costuming was cliche. The Italian fascist style guards seemed to suit the stark set.

Tamerlano in his chic double vented suit looked hot...I just couldn't find him menacing with his high voice.

Domingo, dressed in rich traditional garb looked appealingly royal. And I loved the maidservants in their little modern black suits, glasses and hair pulled back in tight buns...they could have been out of a Robert Palmer music video.

And so what was my costume?
Well I wore some cute shoes

Note the sparkles.
(oh and I don't have's just the angle of the photo)

And I wore my Autumn favorite, a chocolate cashmere sweater with a heavy silk peau de soie skirt, also in matching chocolate brown
As for the bling, I sported a Mexican fire opal and diamond bib style necklace with matching earrings

Here is the detail of the set
It's not enough for a company like the LA Opera just to rely on regular opera fans to fill the seats. It's absolutely necessary for it to attract new, and hopefully younger fans.
But it is frigging expensive.
Who would take someone on a date to the Opera and a late dinner when the Opera, with two drinks each during intermission and parking costs $568. Add dinner and the whole evening would be almost $1,000.
I don't think that this art form should be only for the wealthy patrons from Hancock Park, San Marino and Beverly Hills.
Don't you agree?
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SR@MyStyle said...

Hi there-that necklace is totally divine!! Have a great weekend!!

Couture Carrie said...

Hi gorgeous!
That white gown is stunning, as is your necklace!


Sher said...

OMG love those fire opals!

Jill said...

Wow! I had no idea it was so expensive.

You look beautiful...and those shoes! I'm at a loss for words!

Belle de Ville said...

SR: Thank-you, I've had a great Thanksgiving weekend.
CC: That white gown with open lacing on the back was to die for.
One of the best things about Opera costumes is that they can be taken well over the edge of fashion in terms of dramatic effect and still work.
Sher: I'm a huge fan this fire opal necklace...and yes, I got a few admiring stares when I worn it.
Jill: It's really a shame that Opera, which is difficult to begin with, is so expensive in Los Angeles.
And yeah, how 'bout those shoes. They are Valerie Steven brand purchases on sale at Macys for probably around $50. Aren't they awesome?

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