alles ist gut in münchen

all is very well indeed! Tonight is the best so far. It felt like premiere night. I got the best seat with a full top view of the orchestra and clear sound from all singers. I still think it’s a combination of sound and off-balance night the other day, but let me start by discussing about seating arrangement at the Nationaltheater so we can understand better (perhaps?) my complaints last sunday and praises today:

Nationaltheater — Bayerische Staatsoper

The arrows are where I and friend stood/sat on sunday night. Hers on the 1st balcony was quite expensive, mine standing tix for 16.50 EUR on 4th level. At both arrows, we were under low ceiling cover, orchestra sound arrived sluggish, Romeo audible but lacking vocal expression, Giulietta superb sound the entire time. The difference between upper and lower arrows (besides the enormous ticket price gap): orchestra louder (but still sluggish) and at near eye level with Giulietta on balcony level.

I was at the very top level, at blue circle (standing) for Gruberova last saturday and at yellow rectangle (sitting, first row) tonight. (Equivalence of blue circle on right side is yellow oval on left side.)  Especially tonight, I got absolutely fantastic view and sound from the orchestra. At both operas, all singers were very well heard. Romeo today was full of vocal colors which we heard during the premiere (which were drowned out by orchestra if you sit anywhere in middle and far away from stage). One thing about Giulietta though: I am hearing much more loud singing from Nakamura, the same way she was recorded on premiere night that got me wonder why she doesn’t sing piano + pianissimo more often… It seems that when the orchestra is not heard, her sound is exquisite with all levels of intensity expressed. But because I was on top of the orchestra today, my guess is that her subtleties are drowned out by any orchestra sound which came directly up to my ears, and which got me wishing if the orchestra could just take a break and let dear Nakamura expresses her feelings.

So there you have it. A much better night in term of sound. i happy again. Now onto white shirt details which also contain some spoilers. So if you (Purity) are going to see this later this week and want some surprises, you should skip the rest of this post.

I counted, Romeo is allowed to touch Giulietta 8 times in this entire opera: (1) at the end of the first duet, a “kiss” on the cheek, about 5 sec, (2) when she buttons the wedding dress for Giulietta at beginning of “Vieni a me riposa”, took Frau K a while, Ms Erraught achieved it in 2 sec, (3) pulling Giulietta’s hand to leave just before “cedi ah cedi un sol momento”, 1 sec, (4) catching Giulietta when she’s falling toward the end of “Vieni in me riposa” which ended up with her being on top of Giulietta (for a proper demonstration finish the clip with frau K, i’ll explain just a second what i mean by proper), < 30sec, (5) barely touching the underarm of Giulietta with her wrist while carrying a sword with gloves and staring blankly forward during scene 4 Act 1, ~30sec (there was a pix w/ frau K which is now removed), (6) pulling Giulietta from horizontal to vertical position just before “Deh tu bell anima”, 4 sec, (7) looking away while Giulietta pries her hand for poison, 3 sec, and finally (8) holding hand as they walk off to happy-land, 10sec. I don’t need to time how long the two sing together in the 3-hr opera but that’s a total of less than 1.5 min of touching and not all of it is willingly or to a conscious Giulietta. I think with the right level of acting, we might see that Romeo actually loves Giulietta. Here it seems at times she’s annoyed and ready to drop this Juliet the sooner the better.

On a (fun) related note, I’d like to suggest we put together a white-shirt tutorial for Tara Erraught. It seems the direction is for her to stand with 1 leg straight, 1 leg bent, 2 legs apart, guy-like. So, for every scene where bent-leg is required, we get this:

romeo waiting for giulietta to stop whining

whether she’s waiting for Giulietta or Tebaldo to stop singing, we get the same pose, same facial expression. I, myself a white shirt, would really have preferred something that channels a little bit more emotion, like this perhaps:

blurry Kasarova, demonstrating how to bend everything

May be it’s really true the direction is to show Romeo is annoyed during the duet (I hope not), but that’s the feeling I got watching her twice now. the tomb scene is even more difficult to watch… But before we get there, finally Romeo is allowed to catch a falling Giulietta and proceeded to get herself nicely on top, yay! well, let me see if I can find an image of what it kind of looks like 😉 …

All jokes aside, it was a very beautiful night of singing. I’m looking forward now to this saturday performance. good thing all my tickets now are up on the gallerie, so no more low covers. so, alles ist gut. even i now able to understand about 5 sentences at the opernhaus per night, generally along the line of “where are you? what i see?…” can’t seem to get a good shot though, probably because i’m too far up. So, here’s an HD curtain call of the night.


About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

6 Responses to alles ist gut in münchen

  1. Anik LaChev says:

    …if a log has a higher White Shirt factor than a mezzo, there may be an urgent need for classes on stance!

    At least Erraught isn’t a stick in the mud like the unfortunate former Spice Girl Depicted (if she turns into profile, she turns invisible since there is nothing left to look at, or that’s how the saying goes over here), but in between some peculiar ideas the director mentioned in the opening interview (boiling down to “no touchy-touchy!”) and her youth, one could indeed wish for some swagger and something “more”.

    1,5 min? Oh dear.
    Hilarious analysis, though!

    Hope you continue to enjoy Munich.

    • thả diều says:

      i think the log is a little bit off 😉 . i was trying to capture these images with descriptions: the first time, she looked like a kitty jumping on top a ball of yarn, and 2nd time like when you first learn to swim and fall off the floating device and desperately trying to climb back on it 😀

      i read somewhere (through google translation) that the newspaper suspects it’s a co-production with San Francisco opera and therefore has to be so “conservative” (no touchy). they must be kidding!

      @Eyes: will tell you more when i sit at yet a different location (yellow circle on right side) this saturday!
      but what’s with the chainsaw? 🙂

  2. Eyesometric says:

    Thank you Dr. T. It’s nice to know what’s going on ( or not, as the case may be ! ) As you suggest, this direction may have worked with a more seasoned actor.
    I am particularly interested in your comments on the singer/orchestra balance from different areas of the house and will look forward to the remaining visits.
    Love the illustrations and the humour 🙂

  3. purity says:

    Titter Guffaw Smrk…

    Hey stop distracting me I’m trying to pack. see you Saturday 😉

  4. Eyesometric says:

    White Shirt Solution 1. for Romeo

    White Shirt Solution 2. for Romeo

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