Opera Night

Wednesday’s class was a trip to the Metropolitan Opera. This was a great experience for me and it is one that I will never forget. Not only did I have a great time with all of my classmates on this trip, but also I got to enjoy the opera performance of Turandot.

When I got off the train for Lincoln center, I didn’t know what to expect. I have to admit that the first thing on my mind wasn’t the opera because I was very hungry and in the mood for a classic New York City gyro. After satisfying my appetite, I walked up to the opera and the first thing that caught my attention was the fountain. It lit up the entire plaza and was a great introduction to the next thing I encountered, beautiful chandeliers and a lot of red velvet. As soon as you walk in you see beautiful chandeliers and red velvet, everywhere. The floor, staircases, and walls were all covered in it, which still sticks out in my mind. After seeing a sea of red velvet, I saw a beautiful opera hall with more chandeliers, that move too, and last but not least, (excuse my cliche) i saw the opera.

Overall, I really enjoyed the opera. Everything about it was great and there were several parts of it that stood out for me. One was the orchestra. The music was fantastic and there were many occasions when I would just look down and watch them play. I even enjoyed watching the maestro conduct the musicians. It was interesting to watch his movements and see how he conducted the orchestra with some emphatic arm movements. Next I want to say that my favorite scenes of the opera were the scenes with Ping, Pang, and Pong. I enjoyed the humor in the scenes and their acting was very good. I also really liked hearing Liu sing. Her voice was by far my favorite and I was sad when she died, and i was even more disappointed later on to know it was all in vain because Turandot does fall in love with Calaf and they live happily ever after.

Ariana Z. Turandot

Wednesday night was my first experience at The Metropolitan Opera. Everything about the night truly captivated me. From the red velvet staircases, to the extravagant costumes and even the triangular shaped cups at the water fountain; an understatement would be to say that it was an unforgettable experience. When entering the beautiful hall I was automatically drawn to the numerous chandeliers. Their ornate design, immense size and the, later noted, mobility of the chandeliers oozed sophistication. Once seated, I was pleasantly surprised to see the presence of discrete screens for subtitles, available in multiple languages, for the audience to keep up with the plot of Turandot.

As the curtains elevated, we were welcomed to the intricate and ingeniously planned sets that set the tone for Turandot. The beginning of the Opera (as Professor Kahan stated in class) welcomed us to a group scene, with actors that doubled as the choir. The chorus was truly talented, and in my opinion created a character of their own. In fact, it was their reactions to events happening within in the plot, that cued when the us, the audience should laugh, feel pity, and feel sympathy. Overall, I thought the story was well explained by the singing and a true joy to watch.

The orchestra can be summed up as magnificent. Not one scene left my musical wishes unfulfilled. The moments of recitativo were in my opinion when the orchestra stood out the most. And each time, reminded me of how talented they truly were.

Last but most certainly not least, the singers were wondrous. The talent that was emphasized by the multiple arias performed were a joy to watch. All of the soloists’ voices were moving and I was left more then content, particularly when “Liu” sang her high notes. The performance of “Nessun Dorma” was definitely a joy and showed the talent of the singer whom I found to be almost overwhelming (in a good way) at some moments in the Opera. “Calaf’s” character though a bit fickle with his heart, was likable. And I was happy to see that Turandot who carefully guarded her heart, was able to open it up to a man who risked his life for her.

Ultimately, I can say that my first taste of the Opera left me simply wanting more.

The Opera, 10/3

Yesterday, I saw a live opera for the first time in my life.  I could write about the parts I enjoyed or disliked but I think there will be enough of that during class.  The one thing that I surely want to talk about are the riddles.

Relief went over me when I realized that the theatre let you read the captions of the dialogue.  I read up on the opera beforehand but it was nice to know that I could follow the story with ease. Most importantly, the captions let me solve the riddles for myself, and if it was not for that, the opera would have been a lot less memorable.

I made sure to skip through the riddles when reading the opera in order to guess them for myself.  I was sitting next to Christian and Andrew during the riddles and I quietly said what I thought the first answer was.  Christian and Andrew followed suit and we all tried to compete for the right answer.  Through a lucky guess, I was the only one who got the first one right.  The second riddle was by far the easiest, all three of us stated the answer with confidence and were not surprised that we were right.  The last riddle was not even close to any of our guesses, in fact, we thought the last riddle was downright unfair.  Who would guessed in a million years that the name of the princess was the answer?

Although the last riddle was a disappointment, the little game we had going was pure fun.  The opera was so rich with style, talent and scenery but in my opinion, the riddles were the best part.

Stephanie Solanki, 10/3/12

Yesterday’s seminar was a class trip to the Metropolitan Opera House. I was very excited to go because I love opera music, and I love music and shows in general. This was my favorite opera. I was very happy to see with with the class.

My thoughts on the opera is that the show was spectacular. It was very beautifully done. The set was immense and amazing. I couldn’t believe that they could completely change it the way they did during the 20 minute intermissions. I thought the opera house was beautiful. The acoustics were absolutely amazing in it. I noticed how it was tall and narrow and not wide, like Dr. Kahan said it would be. This was to enhance the sound, and it worked because I was able to hear perfectly from the topmost row. I loved hearing the voices; I wished the woman who played Liu would sing to me forever. I loved the orchestra, as well. It’s so thorough of them to include Chinese or Asian instruments in the music to go with the setting of the opera. Everyone was incredibly talented, even the background singers and dancers.

I loved the art and the music of the opera, but the story seemed a little shallow to me. It was a happy love story, but I think the tragedy of Liu and Calaf’s father could have easily been avoided if the princess had gotten over her pride.

Overall, my first opera experience was fantastic. I loved it so much that I really want to go back and see another.

Opera – Turandot 10/3/12

Yesterday’s seminar class took place at the opera and our class went to the Metropolitan Opera House, better known as the Met, to see the show Turandot. Briefly, it is about a princess who resides in China that will only marry a man if he answers her three impossible riddles correctly. If they fail to complete the task, it will result in them getting beheaded. I think the climax of this opera was when Turandot realizes that the male race isn’t such a dictating figurehead, but rather can embody sympathetic and caring qualities as well. To be perfectly honest, my immediate reaction when I found out that we would be going to an opera weren’t positive or uplifting. But, gratefully, that all changed once the first act begun. I was overwhelmed with the distinct range of voices, possessing such control and ease. Reading along with the subtitles that were in front of the seats benefited my understanding significantly.

However, I think some parts in the opera were a little ambiguous and I didn’t comprehend the entire scene as much as I should’ve. Therefore, I asked for clarification from Professor Monte.  One example of this was when the three riddles became a vital part in the opera. I was able to figure out the first two of them, but the last riddle wasn’t being processed in my head, and I restored to asking my neighboring students for assistance. During the intermissions, my friends and I were aimlessly walking around the Met, and were able to hear bits and pieces of random conversations and implemente this newfound knowledge to get a better understanding of the opera as a whole. Everyone in the Opera House was remarkably pleasant and answered all of my questions completely.

I was flabbergasted when I first saw the scenery on the stage as it related to the overall tone of the particular scene. I think that as the audience you are able to tell a lot about the colors and the setting itself as it compares to the plot transitions. The props and items used in the construction of the stage setting were so detailed and picturesque that I was able to feel as if I was on the stage participating in the play Turandot. All in all, I had a wonderful time at the opera, and my outlook has been altered drastically because I have come to the conclusion that these types of shows aren’t prosaic and monotonous but uplifting and inspiring!

Turandot: 10/3/12

On Wednesday, October 3, our Seminar experience was to take a trip to see the opera at The Metropolitan Opera House.  Professor Kahan and Professor Monte took all of us to go see Turandot, composed by Giacomo Puccini, which is being performed at the Met during the months of September, October, and November.  Turandot tells the story of a Chinese princess who refuses to allow any man to marry her, for she fears being dominated by another human being.  She has devised a system over the years to prevent any man from marrying her.  When a suitor appears, seemingly with the intention to “woo” her and marry her, he is first met with three riddles to solve.  If he can solve these riddles, then he may have the honor of courting and marrying Turandot.  However, if he does not, Turandot has him beheaded.  She has devised such riddles that she knows can be solved by nobody, therefore, she will never have to marry anyone and can be independent, responsible only for herself for her entire life.  Her best-laid plan, however, is shaken with the appearance of Calaf, who remains “the Unknown Prince” until the very end of the opera. He is able to solve all three riddles and thus forces Turandot to face her fears of marrying and being eternally bound to a man.  Ultimately, he is able to convince Turandot that his purpose is no to dominate or conquer her, but to love her.  Her “icy wall” melts, and she learns not only how to love someone else, but that there are people who are genuinely good people, who want to love her, if only she would let them and trust them.  The theme of learning how to love and trust gives way to a happy and gratifying ending.

Turandot was my first opera, and it was definitely an amazing experience.  At first, we were in the last rows of the highest section; the sound was as clearly defined as if you were in floor seats, but while the view was incredible, there were still parts of the stage that were not clearly visible.  During the first intermission, Professor Kahan told us that she was going to scout out seats in the first few rows on the floor level.  I decided to go with her….and I was so glad I did.  I was able to get a seat in the 3rd row…I had not only a perfect view of the stage, actors, costumes, and sets, but the orchestra was right below me.  So I was at my first opera…in the 3rd row…seeing an outstanding performance.

The only part of the opera that disappointed me was the performance of “Nessun Dorma“.  After seeing the videos of Luciano Pavarotti performing this piece, it seems that other performances dim in comparison.  Tonight’s performance of “Nessun Dorma” did not really match that of Pavarotti.  However, I did very much enjoy the piece performed by Liu before she takes her own life.

All in all, the opera was definitely a more than satisfying performance.  I was very excited to go to the opera and I was not disappointed.  Two weeks from now, we will be attending the Broadway production of The Heiress and I am looking forward to another amazing performance.