Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Ghosts of Versailles

My family and I saw John Corigliano’s opera, “The Ghosts of Versailles” at the Opera Theater of St. Louis a few weeks ago. The opera premiered at the Met in 1991 and, unfortunately, has only so far been released on a VHS. (Meanwhile Thomas Ades' opera "The Tempest," which premiered two years ago, is already on CD.) The St. Louis theater commissioned Corigliano to make the opera more intimate for a smaller theater.

I tend to enjoy a performance at the time then think about it later. Although some of the dance segments crowded the small stage, the music and story were very enjoyable. Of the well-known operas based on Beaumarchais plays, I’ve never listened to “The Barber of Seville” (other than the aria “Largo al Factotum”) for some reason, but I love “The Marriage of Figaro,” so my favorite aspect of “Ghosts” was the adventures of the Almaviva household. The story of Beaumarchais and Marie Antoinette was also poignant as the ghost queen accepts her long-ago death--so that she won't lose the love of Beaumarchais. I'd love to hear the opera again.

The article is from 1991. http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/15/arts/classical-music-rushing-in-where-copland-feared-to-tread.html?sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

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