Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ich möchte eine Schweizerin werden!!!!!!

Why would I like to be a Swiss???? Evidently because of La Boheme Live from Bern Suburbs.
That was the coolest thing ever (after the ZürichHauptbahnhofTraviata) what I saw on live television, and as a Swiss I could be proud of my county and the Arte Channel supporting opera.

So yesterday I was watching this Live Opera event, but during the 1st and partly the 2nd act I had some connection problems so the transmission was not really enjoyable.

But other people with normal connection could watch 7 camera-broadcast, and they could choose from the different views. Evidently the camera 1 was the best, but you could follow the orchestra (they were playing in the shopping center next to the McDonalds - LoL) and the other channel broadcasting some interviews with the locals. And on the arte-web you could post your opinion as well. Thank God the 90% of the opinions were soooooo positive, so I was really happy... I didn't care about the haters/snobs/idiots they were so lame, better not to mention them :)

As I said the orchestra was playing in the mall (at the McDonalds) next to the "Hochhaus" (is there a normal English word for the place where they did it??? I'm not sure...)
1st act happened in the laundry, in an apartment, and in the garden of that apartment.
2nd act in the shopping center :) and mainly at the restaurant of the mall
3rd act on the street and near a cafe
4th act in an artist-apartment (?), and then outside - and the best thing: Mimi really did go out between the people - to die there... at the end she died on the stairs of the bus 14, and when she died the bus took her away... it was really moving... OK, but evidently everybody cries when Mimi dies, right???

I could write a lot about this, so let's see the most important details.

LOVED the whole idea. This is the best thing you an do with opera in the 21st Century and also the haters should admit this. It was so exciting to see the people was watching the singers, others were involved accidentally or on purpose in the opera. And it is so bizarre to see an opera going on between real people. And not just to watch it on stage, far from you, and furthermore you have to put on uncomfortable dresses and sit there for hours...

Loved the technical solution. As far as I could notice with my not so good working connection, there were no big mistakes and everything was going on as planned. And it should have been a big technical effort...

Loved the interviews during the opera with the singers - they were answering in character so we could hear what Musetta thinks about the actual situation. And the interviews, the comments were simultaneously translated into French (from German - so bravo to the translators as well!!!)
Another plus: there were French subtitles - this is not a plus for me :) but for the people... :)

Besides involving people they were using locals as amateur actors as well. In a break they showed us how a girl was rehearsing for taking part in the 3rd act, showing the way to Mimi where Rodolfo is. And then when I saw that girl in action, I was really proud even if it was a small role... and there was an old couple passing by Rodolfo and Mimi at the end of 3rd act, evidently it was set up like that, but it was so moving...

So only as an initiative it is so important and a big step that I'm so happy that this happened - I can still believe in people and in miracles :)))

Ok, and now about the flaws... Sorry but I have to mention these things as well, although I don't consider these details negatively.

The singers... Unfortunately the idiots/haters could find a crucial point in this to slam the whole production... For example it was Saimir Pirgu's debut as Rodolfo... He was not the best, but not the worse tenor I saw in that part. With some time he will be better for sure! (I really liked him as Don Ottavio last time in Hungary where he was singing with the yummie Ildebrando D'Archangelo...) And Maya Boog wasn't the best either. I preferred Musetta... So generally the singers were average but they really had nice moments...
The problem is that people think that if an opera is coming to the TV and it is live there should be 1st class singers and STARS... I don't think so.
I don't know the reason behind this, not to use operastars in these kind of productions, but there could be several reasons. Besides the obvious one - they want to spend more money on the technical background and not to pay millions for a bitchy star - maybe the 'real stars' don't want to participate in productions like this because at the moment is really controversial, I think. Or the producers don't want to use big stars (=theoretically excellent voice) not to take off the attention from the idea, from the production. I'm sure if Anna or/and Rolando were singing in this, the whole neighborhood or the city would have been full of crazy screaming operafans. And this is not what they wanted...

I neither could understand completely the idea of the director... The costumes were maybe traditional costumes, sorta... but it was a mix-up, and in the 4th act they were using a laptop, driving a car, etc... so it was a bit confusing, maybe with the costumes they wanted to separate the singers form the audience - but as they were singing it was really evident who was who :)
But there was not to much to think about this part of the concept as you were concentrating on the unusual situations anyway...

And another disturbing factor: as the singers had to change locations, they did a lot of strange breaks during an act as well... So if you were used to hear the 1st act together (as we all were :)) forget it!!!! After the laundry scene the guys run to the apartment so you had to listen to an interview with 2 nice elderly ladies - they were evidently washing meanwhile the bohemes were singing...

So with all the pros and contras - the whole idea wins over everything. Even if opera houses try to get more audiences, there is no other choice - you have to bring the opera to the people!

1 comment:

  1. What were those things in the laundry where they lit the fire? I live in Arizona and I've never seen anything like that in a laundromat in the states?

    I thought the singing was quite good considering they were miked and running around like reality TV. what a good sound job! I heard Saimir at Santa Fe and even though the voice isn't the biggest, he was the best lyric tenor of my week at Santa Fe (better than Pittas I thought) but he was very careful with his singing because he was singing with Natalie Dessay, so who knows. We will hear him at the Met this year. I thought the acting was good though. I didn't like the break-in news reporting, it was a little jarring. But I always cry at the end of La Boheme and it was convincing enough to happen again. Bravo Arte, Bravo Switzerland!