Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 8 - The Met Museum of Art and A Midsummer Night's Dream

Holy macaroni! I didn’t plan to take such a long time to post again, but now it’s been almost a week! Things have been completely crazy, as some of you know I’m applying to colleges in the US to get my graduate diploma so there are a lot of things I need to do/write and Microsoft Word’s column system has managed to drive me just over the edge. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, it’s easier to actually sing all this music than to fucking list it in a nice, clean, space saving manner. 

I’m writing this while listening to the Met’s last year’s production of Un Ballo in Maschera, my favorite part, beginning of act 3. Love the baritone/soprano faceoffs/duets, especially if the soprano is Sondra Radvanovsky and the baritone is Dmitri Hvorotovsky. Man, this reminds me that a lady sent me a message on Facebook trashing Sondra’s work in Norma and I was so pissed off I almost had a total fit and called her a billion names, but I was able to simply ignore her. But then she went to this opera group thing on facebook and bad mouthed Sondra and I could not keep quiet, I told her that she was rude and very disrespectful and who did she think she was to talk about Sondra like that. I felt awesome, because Sondra is awesome and I won’t have anybody badmouthing her on my watch.

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes! Friday, the 11th! So this day was pretty gray, the weather was very bleh and it rained just a bit, me and my mum hanged for a while in Lincoln Center and then headed off to PJ Clarks for lunch. It’s not like my favorite restaurant EVER, I much prefer Japanese food, but the fact that it has somehow affordable prices and it is ridiculously close to the Met totally wins me over.

Well we had a plan, we’d walk to the Met Museum of Art through Central Park since we hadn’t been there yet.  Yes, it’d been more than a week that I was there and I hadn’t gone to Central Park, and I’ll tell you why. I’m a reasonable fan of green and parks and stuff, but if I’m in the city of my dreams for a limited number of days I do not want to spend my precious New York hours looking at green stuff and smelling the fresh air that was purified by the trees. So as we entered the park I almost immediately wanted out! I just wanted to get to the Met Museum to see all the great stuff I wasn’t able to see last time I was in NYC. But my mum wanted to stop by everything that stood out to take a nice little pic. We did walk a lot, from Lincoln Center to the Met Museum that is on the other side of the Park on 5th avenue. Long walk.

ridiculously cute squirrel at Central Park 
We finally got there but the main entrance was closed for renovations and I was a tad upset because I wanted to take a picture on the top of the Met steps like Blair Waldorf. We got inside and man I love this museum, I could see myself easily coming here every single time I come back to the city. It’s like an awesome trip in time, we walked in through the Greek/Roman area and I just marveled at those very genuine and old statues in awe! We went to the American Wing (or something like that), I just know that we walk inside a house and before you know it there are a gazillion floors and corridors and other places full of awesome stuff and beautiful furniture. 

now tell me, who wouldn't want to live in a place like this?
But we went there to see the cool awesome paintings on the second floor. And oh my! I mean, so many great works there I just got dizzy. And it’s so awesome that we can actually take pictures and stand quite close to the paintings. Big time names there, Van Gogh, Seurat, Picasso, Cézanne, Renoir and Monet. I’m gonna share some of my favorites with you guys.

Camille Pissarro "Rue de l'Épicerie Rouer"
Both painting above are Auguste Renoir's the first is called "In the Meadow" and the other "By the Seashore"

"Adolphe Monet Reading a Garden" Claude Monet
"Garden at Sainte-Adresse" Claude Monet
Pablo Picasso's "Woman in White"
Unfortunately we were running out of time and as we marveled the perfection of Monet’s masterpieces we realized it was 6:00pm and we had to get back to the hotel to get ready for the opera that started at 7:30 and we were an hour walk from the hotel. We walked, ALL THE WAY BACK. My feet were throbbing! They doubled in size, I quite literally could not fit my feet inside my own shoes. How insane is that?

Well I did manage to squeeze my feet inside some fabulous new shoes I got, they are pink and black and awesome! Plus they matched my cardigan like perfectly!

Ok, something so magical has just happened now, I look to the side and see an unfamiliar bag in my desk I hadn’t noticed was there. I take it and look at the contents inside and BAM two Olga Borodina cds! Holy crap I’m happy! How cool is that? Well actually I was expecting to get them since when I bought 2737092 cds on Amazon they did warn me that some of the deliveries might be late, and they were, so my uncle who was in NYC just last week got them for me. But this was very unexpected. Very happy now. The cds are Olga Borodina singing Tchaikovsky’s romances “None but the lonely heart” and an amazing recording of Olga Borodina, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Valery Gergiev with the St Petersburg Chamber Choir doing Russian music “The heart and soul of Russia”. I don’t know if you noticed but I’m a big fan of Russian music.

But back to that Friday, we managed to get ready in time and I remember I ran to a Starbucks to get at least some coffee for us to have before the performance. And as I ran the streets of NYC with two piping hot lattes in hand, my purse overflowing with stuff, my phone buzzing and trying to get hold of something to eat, I felt RIGHT. It’s weird, but I felt home, I felt like I could do that every day and be happy for ever. I don’t know what it is about NYC but I just feel so comfortable there, I feel safe, and understood and finally like I belong. Like people don’t talk to me like I’m a freak when I tell them about my career but they actually know something or other about opera and are eager to learn more talking to you. Like you can talk normally to a fellow singer without having to list out your repertoire to the person’s snarky comments or have to listen to them trash someone. You simply talk about your favorite operas and good aspects of various performers. I feel like people in NYC in general are so much more positive and kind compared to the folks back in São Paulo.

Well anyways, I’m babbling a lot today! We got to the Met in time, we were watching “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and I’m gonna let out a little secret to y’all. I have never seen the play nor the movie or knew the story, there I’ve said it. I’m a big Shakespeare fan and have done my share of Shakespearean plays, but I didn’t know this one. We go all the way up, up to the Family Circle and after 5 minutes the lights dim and let’s get to it!

view from my seat, dangerously high!
The production is absolutely adorable, very much like a dream place of a child you might say. The Met’s children’s chorus was adorable and INCREDIBLE. I mean, this is Benjamin Britten we are talking about, this music is difficult for an adult to learn, let alone a child, although I do believe children have a natural easiness to learning things in general, bottom-line the music was difficult. The story was kind of cloudy to me at the beginning, nothing really seemed to make sense. Fairies, evil fairy who only speaks and does not sing, lovers that can’t be together, a woman with a serious obsession about a dude who despises her and a play rehearsal. You can only imagine that if I was confused my mum was beyond help. As the first act progressed I did get how all these things entwine and started having a great time. 

You know what the costumes for the guy counter tenor fairy and the lady high soprano fairy reminded me of? COSMO AND WANDA! From The Fairly OddParents! Ok, shut up! Anyways I was a bit mad at Lysander, what a prick to treat Hermia like that! But if I have to choose a favorite part for the first act I must say the theater group rehearsal. I think that was probably the part I liked the most even though they were the smallest characters. But I think that Britten did such an amazing job writing for all those different voices and taking the time to match their personalities with the type of singing and the voice types. And when they sang together is was so beautiful all that harmony resonating gloriously to my cheap Family Circle seat was just amazing!

Well there is a total mess in this story, because fairy counter tenor wants a little boy fairy high soprano has. So he comes up with this crazy plan of giving her some sort of drug stuff powder to make her fall in love with the first thing she sees. And what does she see but a man who’s been turned into a donkey! In the human world Demetrius and Helena are in love but Helena is promised to Lysander and Demetrius is broke. So they run away together.   Lysander runs after them but is also pursued by Hermia who has a serious mental problem. I say that because even though he treats her like shit she keeps on following him and telling him she loves him and all that. Have some self respect girl! The fairy counter tenor guy sees Lysander being a total jerk to Hermia and orders his servant who only speaks and never sings to throw the love powder thing on Lysander as well so he’ll fall for Hermia! BUT the fairy dude does not say Lysander he says “a Greek guy wearing white robes” (or something). So the fairy servant that never sings OBVIOUSLY mistakes   Lysander for Demetrius. And when Demetrius wakes up he first sees Hermia, BANG tots in love with her and totally drops Helena!    

And do you remember that theater group? There’s this guy who wants to play every single role but his own and so the fairy who won’t sing turns him into that donkey the high soprano fairy falls for! Ends first act and I’m like “This story couldn’t get any crazier, seriously.” But I did enjoy myself a lot. And guys don’t mind my referring to the characters as “counter tenor fairy” and “kinda cute guy who gets turned into a donkey”, I don’t know the names, I only know the names of the lovers because they are the same names as in The Enchanted Island.

I developed quite a nice habit at the Met when I’m alone at intermission, looking dreamily at the gorgeous chandeliers. And I can assure you, you can spend a long period of time staring at them, they are just so gorgeous and I also observe the people and it’s fun!


Second act starts and high soprano fairy is so smitten with the donkey guy thing. She makes her fairies take care of him and obey his every command. But his commands consisted mainly in them scratching behind his ears. For a terrified moment I thought the soprano fairy was gonna try or actually accomplish kissing the donkey head. That would have been disturbing on the very least. But no kissing occurred. Ah the counter tenor fairy got the child, what he did with him? No one knows, be afraid.

Well while that happens Demetrius is now chasing Hermia who thinks he’s playing a trick on her and Helena is pursuing Demetrius who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about her. Lysander appears and now he pursues Helena, it’s a pretty ugly mess to sum up. When the counter tenor fairy sees the enchantment hit the wrong person he makes his non singing fairy do the powder enchantment thing on Lysander. Lysander is enchanted and now there are two guys fighting over the ever more suspicious Hermia while Helena weeps because her lover doesn’t care about her anymore. I liked this scene, real funny. Specially because Hermia lets it all out and tells Helena how she made her feel and you’re like “a lot of unfinished business there”.

The countertenor fairy gets tired of them babbling and fighting and puts them all to sleep and makes the musically mute fairy lift the spell from DEMETRIUS. Ends act 2 and I’m like, this opera has 3 acts? Holy mother of God, what more could possibly happen? A lot, as I will learn on the third act.

moi at intermission!
Well, the counter tenor fairy lifts the spell from the soprano fairy and I don’t know if I didn’t catch this in the beginning but they apparently have a thing, are married or something. What? The two fairies I mean. Well, the scene is quite beautiful, they end up dancing and it’s very romantic! And the donkey person gets himself turned back to his kinda cute human self. The lovers wake up and sing about 15 minutes long of a quartet telling each other they love each other and it’s adorable but I’m still wondering why they made a whole other act just for that. Foolish me thinking that this was over, the best part was yet to come! Because the theater group is back together and after apparently a night of rehearsal they are ready to perform, and not just to an one but to the emperor! 

The emperor and his wife appear and the lovers ask them to get married and they let them and are all happy and sappy. The theater group arrives and they perform their play. That was the best part of the opera, I never laughed so bad in live opera before. One because their “over the top acting” was amazing and it was an all man’s group doing a romantic story, so the shortest and chubbiest guy with a stutter problem was playing the lady. The others had pretty ridiculously hilarious parts like a wall, the moon, a tree. The whole performance was very funny, especially when the girl kills herself. I just could not stop laughing and then basically they all live happily ever after, the end!

my mu super pro in taking curtain call pics!
I really liked this opera, although it’s not my favorite kind of music (I’m a Puccini, Verdi kinda girl) I had a fantastic time! And I think we have to watch everything you know, at least once, just to go out and say “Hey, not really my cup of tea” but then you’ve seen it, you talk from experience. Not that I did not like the opera, I did, but it’s not like I’m going to have pictures of the performance on my bedroom wall like I have of Tosca.

Well, this is long enough hun? Guys, have a ball, only 3 posts to go and the following will have major fangirling moments and loads of happy tears! Cheers!

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