Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Opera: The Abduction from the Seraglio

I've never been to the opera before, this is my very first time.  In fact, I'm not much into classical music etc.  Recently I went to the symphony and had a very nice time, so when my friend Retep-bot suggested going to the opera here in Edmonton I said yes.  I had not been to the Jubilee Auditorium previously, but I had heard good things about the venue.  I had heard nothing about the Edmonton Opera . . .
Clearly not this time of year . . .
 So, we went to get tickets from the campus Ticketmaster . . . which took 1 hour with only the three of us at the kiosk buy tickets.  Yes your read that correctly.  The girl behind the counter has reinforced my rule - if your server is wearing a see-through shirt, the service will be bad (that is why they aren't working in clothes).  Service will get worse in direct proportion to other missing clothing items. So, far this rule has never been wrong.
The opera playing is The Abduction from the Seraglio. The website told me the following "Laugh out loud on a journey of the imagination, resplendent with musical misadventure as only Mozart could create. The young Belmonte journeys to the exotic east to rescue his beloved Konstanze from the clutches of an amorous Pasha, and madness ensues as the lovers battle to outwit a bumbling and jealous vizier."  Sounded good to me.

Looks alright . . .
So, the version we watched was updated to be the James Bond 1960s version . . . kind of . . . it was also very 80s (ie project Hammerpants) and had multiple references to facebook in it.  While none of this is a deal breaker it did make the opera a bit more uneven then I assume it was originally.  The talky bits also seemed to go on a lot to make the time period appropriate jokes.  On a whole it was funny in a pleasantly amusing kind of way.
Hammerpants do not go with Bond
 The Pashas bad Bill accent from Bill and Ted was super distracting and made my ears hurt.  There is no Valley in Bond.  Many of the accents were annoyingly stereotypical, for example Pedrillo's Mexican accent.  I would have been happier with normal accents and the same lines.
Thats like so awesome . . .
The Staging was good as were the costumes and effects etc.  Their were Bond Girls/Solid Gold Dancer minions that needed to practice more, but as a whole the human set decorations did a good job.

The singing was good, not the best ever, but solid.  As an odd contrast to his accent, I really enjoyed Pedrillo's singing.  Osmin had lots of good lines about putting heads on pikes, which was fun.  The songs all sounded rather similar, however.  There really wasn't a climax to the music in my mind.

The cast!
Overall, I had a good time though.  I enjoyed the atmosphere and most of the opera itself was pretty good.  The translation of the German lyrics was funny and accurate?  I would definitely be temped to see another opera they put on.

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