This past weekend, we went to Minnesota Opera's production of Tosca. It was truly beautiful; gorgeous sets, wonderful music, and amazing singing. Matt and I have been subscribing to the opera for the past three years, and I think this might be my favorite (or close to it).
what I loved:
- everyone sang beautifully; this was so well-cast
- there were two large statues in the set: made from styrofoam then hand-painted, they legitimately looked like marble and metal statues
- the costumes were gorgeous
- the opera moved along at a good pace; I never felt as if the action were stalled or the music stuck on one point over and over
- death scenes: quick and non-agonizing
This is a Puccini opera, and I haven't always loved his operas in the past. They've been fine but not excellent. Maybe that's because I'm not an opera person. We subscribed to the opera more for the experience of it. After 11 operas over three years, I can truly say I feel like we've experienced opera now. We are no experts, but we have a reasonable breadth of shows we have been to.
This opera was just fantastic. It's even led to some mixed feelings. We decided not to renew our opera subscription for next year. We can renew again in the future, and we are ready to explore some other options for our date nights (hiking, plays, other concerts, game nights -- who knows?). I was okay with this, because we've also attended some operas I didn't love as much. But, on the whole, I'm glad to go out on a high note. This encourages me to see operas again in the future.
For the record, the operas we've seen:
- La Boheme -- outdoor venue, pretty fun, lots of lovely music
- Manon Lescaut -- 40 minute long death arias are not my thing; lovely costumes, but the first half was better than the second
- Arabella -- a German comedic opera that I loved! This is one of my favorites
- Macbeth -- Italian, so even more dramatic than the original. Julie first kicked during this opera! I enjoyed it, but I was so, so tired that night.
- The Magic Flute -- a spectacle indeed with innovative staging. Perfectly fine but not a stand-out for me
- Hansel and Gretel -- so excited to see this, and so disappointed in the end. The best part is that it was short. Oh, and there was some good dancing too.
- The Manchurian Candidate -- in English, based on the book, and pretty awesome. Different for an opera
- Carmen -- I so wanted to like this, and I was underwhelmed. The two main leads didn't have any chemistry. But the music was great!
- Ariadne auf Naxos -- first half was good, and the second half was less good
- Rusalka -- a Hungarian opera and a tragic version of little mermaid. I loved this one! Starred the lovely Kelly Kaduce, who is my favorite Minnesota Opera singer we've seen
- Tosca -- brilliant!