Thursday, March 29, 2007

Opera: The New Spectator Sport

The lights dim. It’s nearly pitch dark inside a giant, cavernous space filled with thousands of people waiting in great anticipation. Loud rhythmical music pulsates throughout the space and renders the crowd with palpitory excitement. Women begin to swoon. Men tense and sweat with wide eyed alacrity. All eyes are focused on one point in the giant hall, and when the moment arrives where their heroes are revealed and illuminated the expansive room erupts with an amplitude of cheers and applause.

Sound like the NBA basketball playoff introductions? Nope. A rock concert? Uh-uh. This, my loyal evil readers, is the experience of the local opera scene in Portland.

On a weeknight evening the Portland Opera production of The Flying Dutchman witness an unheralded and unprecedented audience reception. From the moment the curtain opened, revealing the entire cast in rock concert lighting on a raked and off-balanced stage we felt like we were doing an NBA playoff game in front of the 3,000 pairs of eyes before us. Spontaneous shouts, applause, and even a fist in the air “Woo Woo Woo” ala Arsenio Hall greeted us as the overture completed and we started singing.

What went through the minds of the conservative, penguin suited, rhinestone wearing typical opera goer? I wonder…

“Lovey, did that man just say, ‘woo woo woo’?”

“Yes, Thurston. It’s the new rage with all the modern opera audiences.” (thrusts fist in the air) “Woo! Woo! Woo!”

I believe we’re on to something here. What if we made opera the new spectator sport, complete with commentary from the booth. Let’s go there now:

“Well, Phil, it looks like the crowd is prepared for some hot entertainment tonight!”

“Sure does, Bill. Look at ‘em go wild with the new modern lighting! They’re even starting a spontaneous wave in the orchestra section. Let’s go now down to Jill who’s with the head stage director:”

“Thanks Phil. I’m here with Guillermo Nobilo who is watching from off stage left tonight. Tell us, Guillermo, what should we expect tonight?”

“Vell, Jeell, I’m pleeeased viz ze whole outcome. All ze zingers gave 110% een practeece. Zey are READY!”

“That’s the word from backstage. Back to you Phil.”

“Thanks, Jill. Bill, the tenor has been spending extra hours in the practice room this week trying to polish and caress that high ‘C’. It should be an exiting night if he can hold it this evening.”

“That’s right Phil. We’re coming up to the end of his aria now. Let’s see if he can nail it.”

“Ooooo!! Bill, that was just a hair under pitch and he hooked that one big time.”

“Yes he did, Phil. You can tell he’s a little fatigued this evening and he didn’t quite reach the top.”

"Looks like it'll be more time in the practice room for the next few days, Bill."

Hey, it happens for golf! Why not opera?

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Comments on "Opera: The New Spectator Sport"


Blogger Ariadne said ... (April 06, 2007 5:55 PM) : 

I'd rather hear this ANY day of the week than the drivel over at the Met broadcasts. This is entertaining and informative!



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