One indulgence I have is going to see eight or nine Metropolitan Opera performances per year with Met Season tickets. They are up in the Family Circle, but sometimes I indulge a little more and spring for Orchestra seats. This past Saturday, I was able to see not one opera, but three–Don Carlo, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci. I’ve seen Nicholas Hytner’s production of Don Carlo, once before, but had forgotten how much I absolutely love the score. Opera Philadelphia is actually doing Don Carlo as well with Philadelphia-native Eric Owens in as King Philip. Here is a wonderful article in the NYTimes about both productions.
If you’ve never seen an opera before and want to, may I suggest Pagliacci as your first? Every one knows the tune (here’s Pavarotti) and the image of a clown crying and singing. It’s two short acts and a show within a show. Sir David McVicar’s production is set at a 1948 truck stop for the fated Vaudeville troupe. Simple love story: Canio loves Nedda, Tonio loves Nedda, Nedda loves Silvio. All of them are in the troupe together, Canio is drunk and jealous, the audience thinks its’ just part of the show–Canio kills Nedda and Silvio and shouts “La Commedia è finita!” (The Comedy is Over!) Opera at it’s finest, folks.