Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Night at the Opera. Ariadne auf Naxos.

A 1916 opera that is thoroughly postmodern in its self-reflexivity and its self-conscious genre bending.  That also has lush and passionate arias and coloratura thrills.  Music by Richard Strauss and libretto by Hugo Von Hofmanstahl.  Love duets and commedia delle arte.  High and low.  Sublime and ridiculous. Music and words. This is the Vienna Secession!


We have heard so much wonderful music over the last two months: five big orchestral performances and two full-scale operas (with two more to go--Parsifal and Jenufa.). Plus tons of jazz.  And so much of the music has been of this part of the world--Stravinsky, Dvorak, Erkel, Strauss, Mahler,  Bruckner.  We have heard it in packed halls and opera houses, filled with audiences who don't fidget, whisper, unwrap candy, or snore.  People who come to pay attention to the music, don't give automatic standing ovations, but do signal appropriately their respect.

To be in a city where music is simply a way of life--accessible, affordable, varied, and supported: it has been an enormous gift.

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