Before I shut off the internet I NEED to show you something

23 Feb

Ok ok so maybe I have six pages to write before I go to sleep tonight. And maybe I have three quarters of King Lear to read as well. But I just got back from the Met’s production of Donazetti’s La Fille du Regiment, and it would be practically inhuman for me to just proceed with my work as if nothing happened. BECAUSE IT WAS SPECTACULAR.

It’s been awhile since a performance has blown me away. Last week, I saw Brooklyn Academy of Music’s The Tempest, but it left me feeling cold. The set was interesting, but the production couldn’t make up its mind, and the acting had no spark to it. The week before, I saw the Met’s Ariadne auf Naxos which was very good, but more intellectually stimulating than entertainingly enjoyable. (Lots of opera this semester because I’m taking a class on opera. We get incredible seats! It’s such a treat. I feel like I’m finally taking advantage of going to college in New York City. It’s about time).

La Fille du Regiment was out of this world. It’s hard for me to land and work on a political science paper when my head is still replaying these beautiful arias. For starters, the script is fun! And it’s in French instead of German, so I could make out some of the words. Then the CAST. Unbelievable. Kiri Te Kanawa trekked in from New Zealand for a very rare performance. She had a small part but delivered it with grace and dignity.

The two principals, though, were out of this world. The female lead, Diana Damrau, portrayed the mascot of France’s 21st regiment, an indignant young woman who falls in love before she is forced to move in with her ritzy Marquise aunt. Damrau’s Marie is petulant and powerful, hitting coloratura notes while doing splits and being carried around by soldiers. I didn’t think that was possible. And she was so FUNNY! Everything at once.

Here’s Damrau in Zauberflaute (can’t find youtube clip of her in this). Click to 2:18 for one of my favorite arias, expertly rendered:

More impressive, though, was Juan Diego Florez as her love interest. I have never heard such a pure, lyrical tenor. He sings a 7-minute song in the first act (see below) and I was so upset when it ended. I watched him in awe. His voice is so smooth, and he, too, pull it off with hilarity. I want to carry him around in my pocket and make him sing to me on command. During the curtain call, someone threw him a Peruvian flag. He wore it around his shoulders. Aw.

Here he is in that song I mentioned above. Listen to those high notes! What grace! What clarity! (For a quick and dirty display of his incredible talents, turn to 5:58. Whew. I melted.)

All this was topped off by a brief run-in with a certain former source/Columbia administrator. And it was the last Regiment production of the season. I am so lucky.

Okay. Back down into this world. For polisci. Sigh.

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