So we went to the Eugene Opera again last night. Last NYE it was Pirates of Penzance, this time it
La Traviata. You know, serious opera.
As a time, as a way to spend New Year's Eve, it was just as delightful as last year. Again with the Eugenisms: I'm not sure quite how many places you could go to see opera and catch the distinct aroma of weed from the elderly couple next to you in line. The elderly couple who look - braids and ratty green cape, and that's on him - like they just tooled down from their commune in the hills. Some might roll their eyes at this. I think it's great. In Eugene, the aging hippies support their local opera company. Why the fuck not?
So, you know, serious opera. My first. It was fine. Not scary or intimidating at all. Okay, the near-contact high may have helped, but more than that: it was music. I'm a firm believer in the Ellington Doctrine that there's only two kinds of music. And this was the good kind.
I hardly need to say that I'm in no position to judge the quality of the performance. Beyond the obvious, that is: the main roles went to pros from out of town, and that was as it should be, because the chorus seems to have been mostly local talent, and even I could tell it was weak. The gypsy girls' song in Act II was, um, underwhelming.
As for the main roles, though, all I can say is that I really enjoyed Leah Partridge as Violetta, and really really enjoyed Jake Gardner as Giorgio Germont. It was satisfying music. Beyond that...
Beyond that, as a lifelong pop music junkie but a babe in the woods of the high-art shit, I was mainly just trying to pay attention and see if I could get how this musical entertainment was working at all. And what I came away from it was a sense of how direct it all was. Infinite subtleties in the composition and the performance, but as theater it's essentially melodrama. Now you're going to exult, now you're going to fear, now you're going to weep, and when you weep you're going to really, really weep. As a kabuki fan it was all perfectly recognizable to me as high and respectable melodrama. A tonic for an ironic age.