Thursday, October 17, 2013

Trip to NYC - Day 6 - The Nose

Hey world! So let’s go back one day and talk about last Tuesday, the 8th of October. Well, my mum was nagging about wanting to go to 5th Avenue to shop and I said, “Oh fine, but no taxi!” I hate NYC cabs, I know, I shouldn’t but I don’t like using cars in the city. I mean, you can do almost anything by foot and if it’s indeed too far you just take the subway and pay $2,50! Plus most taxi drivers are RUDE and yell at you. Well anyways, we walked from where we were staying (between 10th and 9th avenues) ‘till 5th avenue. That alone was already quite a walk.

We went to the Apple Store because my mum wanted an Ipad. There are a gazilion types of Ipads in that store and I had no idea what she wanted, most importantly not even she had a faint idea of what she wanted. So I called my cousin but he didn’t pick up, all of the sudden I start receiving audio messages in my whatsapp feed. They were my cousin’s telling me he was in the shower but he could help me chose one even though (you could hear the water running as he spoke). He explained the type of Ipad I had to buy through 10 second audio files he made while showering, what? Yeah, just, yeah.

We got what we were looking for and basically spent the rest of the day walking down 5th Avenue and shopping. We walked ‘till 32nd Street where a friend had recommended a Japanese food restaurant but it was 3:15 and they closed at 3:00. My mum was beyond pissed, we were craving to eat this kind of food for so long! Then we went back, all on foot, so from 32nd Street to 57th street and then from 5th Avenue to 9th Avenue, it was quite a walk, not to mention all the shopping bags.

But I didn’t have time to rest, I took a shower, changed and headed off to the Met. I had a smoked salmon with cream cheese bagel and it was like heaven! I’m such an ogress!

The sunset was gorgeous that day, later I found out that this phenomenon only happens twice a year in the city

Well, this was the second opera I’d be watching alone and I bought a rather fine seat on the first row of the Balcony. I think that was the best seat I had. Because when you sit at the orchestra you can see the action very well and you can actually see people’s faces which is fantastic but the sound isn’t really the best. When I sat at the grand tier the sound wasn’t real good and since I was a little to the back of the grand tier I couldn’t see the faces either. In the Family Circle the sound is INSANE, it’s really good, all the point and sound and greatness goes up to the Family Circle BUT you are so far away you can’t see people’s faces. The best place was indeed first row balcony. Because you get that amazing Family Circle sound plus you are much more near the stage and can actually see the faces, so if you are buying tickets for the opera at the Met, buy stuff on the Balcony! It’s a bit pricy, it’s $100,00 but it’s really the best seat in the house, at least for me!

Well now on to the crazy world of Shostakovich, I was a bit reluctant about watching this opera at first. I mean, it’s a Russian modern opera by Shostakovich, I really didn’t know what I was going to get. But apart from the title character being played by the Brazilian Paulo Szot, Valery Gergiev was also conducting it.

I wanna to first and foremost talk about the sets. They are amazing, I never saw anything like it in my whole life! It was partially made with amazing projections and the projections actually interacted with the singers! Plus you had the translation of what they were saying in the projections so it was a lot of fun following.

It starts off with our hero going to the barber’s shop and getting a shave. After he’s left the barber realizes he cut the man’s nose out! I loved this scene because the barber’s wife comes after him and the argue and he runs in a brave move, because they are in a two story set and there’s a rope with a bucket that goes downstairs and he hops on it descends and runs, it’s amazing! So brave, I would never do that! The opera is fun and it is funny!

Well waking up the next morning our hero finds that his nose is in fact missing, no blood no whole, just no nose. He’s desperate and scared. Paulo Szot has a beautiful voice plus he’s a real good actor. This guy I’ve admired for years and years and years! A few years back he braved into a world very few opera singers brave into, the world of musical theater and he was an absolute sensation! He even won a Tony Award for his work in the revival of South Pacific. He was the very first Brazilian to win a Tony Award, quite huge! Plus he was playing Lescaut in that production of Manon that made me fall in love with opera.

He goes on about town asking for help and about a thousand characters with each two or three lines appear but nobody really helps him. He sees the nose and even talks to him, the nose actually acquired a personality and has a higher social position that his owner, imagine that! I particularly liked the scene in the church where he actually talks to the nose and the nose says that he could never be his since they are so different. He goes to the police and to the news papers but no help, just a lot of bullying because he is now deformed with really no nose. The opera is rather dynamic and although it is atonal you don’t really feel disturbed by it. It must be a bitch to learn and it’s definitely something I would not do since I’m such a lyrical kind of person, but the story was light and fun which made perfect counterpoint with the complicated music.

By the end of the first part his nose is stomped by a mob of people and shrinks back into his normal size. There was no intermission in this opera since the whole thing is about 90 minutes, there was just a brief pause of about 3 minutes and then we were back.

A police officer has found the nose but in order for our hero to actually get his nose back he has to pay a lot of money to the policeman. Our hero is now trying to stick his nose back onto his face, but no avail! The nose won’t stick! I don’t know how I’m making this sound, but this is quite hilarious! He tells his servant to call the doctor, but the doctor also doesn’t help at all, he even says that it’s better to leave things as they are, if he tried to sew the nose back I’d be way worst. But the doctor also asks for money, a lot of it. I’m sure this piece has a double meaning, with a man who has suddenly lost something vital and everybody who usually always helped either laughed at him or took advantage of his situation.

Defeated our hero goes to sleep and miraculously during the night the nose decides that he wants to come back and our hero wakes up the next day thrilled to have his nose right back on his face! So it’s a happy ending for our crazy opera about a runaway nose! Then comes a part I loved, some actors start questioning why on earth would someone make up a story like that? It’s so cool! I had a wonderful laugh and actually left the Met auditorium with a huge smile on my face. I really liked this opera! And it’s odd because as I was exiting the auditorium an old lady of about 70 years old asked me what I had thought of it and I said “It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen, but I really liked it!” and the old lady said “I was just saying the same thing to my daughter, it’s definitely the craziest thing I’ve ever seen but it’s wonderful!”.

Well, I went to the stage door because I really wanted to meet/talk to Paulo Szot. The creepers were ALL there, it’s so disturbing, seriously, those people are sick. When Paulo came out I let them have a go at him, I really didn’t want to fight for Paulo’s attention with those lunatics, so I waited my turn. Eventually they eased up on Paulo because Maestro Gergiev had just come out so I went to talk to him. I must say it was so much fun to actually be able to speak in my own language at the stage door with a singer who had just sung. Because you’d have a lot of times loads of Russians speaking their mother tongue to the performers and I’m like “I don’t even know what they are saying!”. But Paulo is such a sweetheart! My singing teacher is actually really good friends with him so she send him a rather strange message through me, probably one of those inner jokes. He did laugh and thanked me so much. We talked for a while about The Nose and about South Pacific. He was so sweet, ah, I’m so happy I’m getting to meet these people and actually talk to them for a while. And most importantly see that they actually listen to what I have to say!

Well guys, that’s it for today, now I gotta run to class because I’m late. 

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