11 March 2024

Sisters are doing it

It was a busy musical day but the main event was opera.  The other can await for next week's repeat.  I arrived to park then chat with a fellow Italian/Veneto-related person who was attending her first opera given a friend was singing in it.  Nice.  It's not my favourite musical event but I've attended a few operas and this was my second Suor Angelica.  It was performed by our local National Opera which bemoans its lack of funding to create a major national company in Canberra.  If not, then at least we can have small events like this one, with a minor orchestra with decent players and Lenny conducting and a string of female singers in habits as nuns and a few males in spacey colour as angels or other heavenly residents.  I was awaiting a notable aria, but I didn't hear one.  Lenny suggested what there is one but it merges into the ongoing recitative.  But the story is tragic and deeply sad and the music and singing was all very satisfying although even with some Italian I found following the story verging on impossible.  But opera is like that.  It's not like pop or folk singing.  I think I mixed up a notification of a son's death with an insect bite, but so be it.  The sadness was clear enough, at least for the unmarried mother sent off to the nunnery, and the joy at encountering her 7yo son in Heaven was obvious and the whole was tear-jerking.  So I didn't get the parts too clearly but I could feel the emotions.  It's from another era, of course,  I guess a relatively early awareness of the pain of children taken from unmarried mothers and the performance carried it though with understanding and musical panache.  So opera may not become a go-to for me but I can admire it and occasionally attend.  And that's a big success for a style which is really so foreign to our current culture.

Giacomo Puccini's opera Suor Angelica was presented by the National Opera in Albert Hall under Rachel Hogan (director) with key cast Emma Mauch (Suor Angelica) and Sonia Antiloff (La Zia Principessa).  The Orchestra comprised Leonard Weiss (conductor) with Ankia Chan (violin), Katrina Vesala (viola), Gabriel Fromyhr (cello) Lizzy Collier (bass), Alison Mountain (flute), Ella Luhtasaari (musical director, piano) an Callum Tollhurst Close (piano).

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