The end of the year is near! And so I thought it would be fun to do some “best of 2013” lists! I might do this in more than one post, depending on the amount of stuff I write.
It’s in alphabetical order because I really don’t wanna choose which I liked best than the other, so those are the highlights of the year of operas I’ve seen live in 2013
Aida (Theatro Municipal de Sao Paulo)
This was my first time seeing Aida and it was really love at first sight! The music is just so incredible, the chorus parts are exhilarating and the solos, duets and trios just swept me off my feet! The staging was simple but dignified and Radames and Amneris were particularly wonderful. I saw this production of Aida twice at the Theatro Municipal in the city where I live, Sao Paulo, it was my very first time going there.
Eugene Onegin (Metropolitan Opera)
I felt so privileged to be able to see this opera live not only once but twice! Before I even saw this production I already loved this opera thoroughly. And then having such a stellar cast under the musical direction of none other than Valery Gergiev was just an absolute delight. The staging was beautiful and the interpretation of the characters was slightly different but it worked incredibly well for that particular set of performers.
La Cenerentola (Theatro Sao Pedro)
This opera I also saw more than once, if you have been reading this blog for a while you will know that I actually watched some rehearsals of this opera. The cast was adorable, the staging slightly bleh but the performers totally made up for it! Special spotlight for the ladies who played the evil step sisters who are sisters in real life and totally stole the show!
Norma (Metropolitan Opera)
I had never seen this opera and let me tell you, even though the staging was as dull as it gets, I loved it! It was my first night at the Met and I was alone and it couldn’t have been more perfect! I remember my eyes filling up with tears seeing Sondra come out for the first time and feel the tears roll down my cheeks when she started singing. Again, I saw this opera twice when I was there and feel so fortunate!
Again in alphabetical order because they were all such different kinds of concerts and I really can’t choose, each had a very different kind of special meaning
Annick Massis Concert (Theatro Sao Pedro)
Two incredible nights. Annick is such a fine artist and with such an impressive repertoire. I remember that in her very last encore I nearly cried at her rendition of “Chi bel sogno di Doretta”. And also her reading of Papa Germont’s letter and “Addio a del passato” was heart breaking and inspired. I was SO lucky to sit in the front row for this concert in both days!
Maryinsky Theater Orchestra plays Stravinsky led by Valery Gergiev (Carnegie Hall)
I’m such a grateful person to have seen this! I guess that’s why I wanna live in NYC, I mean, come on! I stayed there 10 days and was able to watch so many top notch musical performances, like with the absolute best in DA WORLD! Ah well, this concert was incredible. I mean, it’s not every day that I get to see an entire all Russian orchestra play Stravinsky. I was particularly moved when they played “The Rite of Spring” because my history teacher back in college dedicated quite a lot of time to this piece in particular. So to be able to see an orchestra like that play it was something I will never forget! Plus this concert was on the very DAY of Verdi’s 200th anniversary so as a present to the audience maestro Gergiev led the overture of La Forza del Destino that was composed for the Maryinsky theater! By the end I was in tears, tears, tears!
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Joyce DiDonato led by James Levine (Carnegie Hall)
This was one of those things that is on one’s bucket list, again I felt very blessed to have been able to attend this one night only sold out event! First of all y’all know Joyce is one of my personal heroes, so just to get to see her perform was already such a thrill for me. And let me tell you, she was everything I had ever dreamed of and more, such an amazing artist. Then you add the Met Orchestra led by none other than the legendry James Levine and it’s heaven! Seriously, Beethoven’s 7th Symphony was just impossibly gorgeous and the overture of Il Vespri Siciliani being played the WEEK of Verdi’s 200th anniversary was just a marvelous slap of my musically drugged face.
Vesselina Kasarova and the Camerata Berg (Sala Sao Paulo)
Two magical nights in a row! I was already a great fan of Vesselina’s work but to actually see her live right in front of me was so incredible. Plus, as you guys have read in my posts about this concert, she kept looking and smiling at me and my bff for almost half of the concert which was just impossible and insane and wonderful. She did her Mozart and Rossini repertoire which I love and I got to fall in love with her Sesto once again! *sighs*
Best Opera Singer Meetups
Now this is where I get overly emotional like a good Brazilian always does and start crying. I can’t help it though, these are also in alphabetical order because they were all equally awesome.
Annick is such a generous person and I knew that from the moment she walked on stage she gave it her all to that performance. I will never forget the kindness she showed towards me, looking in my eyes and being sincerely interested in what I had to say. She showed such interest in me I was a bit shocked and even gave me my very first opportunity to sing in a real life masterclass, her masterclass. I look back at those two amazing evenings that I chatted for a while with her after her performances with always a smile on my face.
I think this was one of the best moments of my life, getting to meet Joyce the way it happened. It was so surreal, first to walk in that room and see her SO DAMN CLOSE and just wait a few minutes that felt like 974298734 hours. Then to get to have her first words uttered to me be my own freaking name, I mean, how cool is that? She’s like one of my heroes and she actually knows who I am and plus was so thrilled that we had finally met and that I went to see her. I mean, that’s daydream material, that’s fanfiction material and it happened to me in real life. I got several hugs and even more kind and amazing words from her. Plus I got to walk around the Carnegie Hall backstage area WITH HER and talk.
Now Sondra is someone who inspires me SO MUCH to pursue this career. She’s also one of my personal heroes and ultimate role model. And I got to see her twice! First time I met her it was in the Met’s stage door area and I was terrified because A- it was my first time stage dooring at the Met B- she walks out and she’s like SUPER TALL C- I’m afraid I won’t be able to speak because of nervousness and/or unexpected tears. So I just stood there like an idiot with my mouth probably hanging opened looking her while she sighed stuff feeling my heart beat in my throat (Lord help me I might choke in my own heart!). She saw me there and walked up to me, took my hand and shook it and said “Hi! I’m Sondra! But you probably know that, right?”, for the first 3 seconds I was frozen but then I regained consciousness and was able to speak fluently and well and we hit it off quite well. After talking to her for a while I told her I’d be watching Norma again on Monday and she proceeded to invite me to go to her dressing room to talk to her after the show on Monday. I nearly had a heart attack then. Monday we met again, in the dressing rooms area backstage at the Met and she was again, SO SWEET and SUPER KIND. Seriously, I wanna be like this lady when I grow up, she’s fabulous and all kinds of wonderful!
Vesselina’s heart is the size of a house. And it’s funny because she has such a strong stage presence that me and my bff were a bit apprehensive about going up and talking to her. But she was a bucket of sugar, so sweet I couldn’t believe it. She was particularly fond of us because she saw us in the front row smiling at her every 5 seconds. We both quickly connected with her and had a lovely time talking to her. The second day she waved at us from the stage when she walked in and actually took my hand during one of her last ovations to thank me. That was SO SURREAL!
Well, I guess that’s it for now. In other news I’m NEARLY graduating, I have one grade to come out yet. I pray to God everyday to help me pass, so help me God I WILL!