Da tempeste il legno infranto,
se poi salvo giunge in porto,
non sa più che desiar.
Così il cor tra pene e pianto,
or che trova il suo conforto,
torna l'anima a bear.
* * *
I managed to get a standing room ticket for last night's performance of Giulio Cesare, though I was somewhat intimidated by figuring out the process for such things. Apparently there are 200 standing room tickets for each performance, and they go on sale at 10 am the day of the performance. They let standees in a particular door 70 minutes before the curtain time, by number, and there is a numbered line painted on the ground outside of the entrance.
Kip Cranna, the Musical Administrator of the San Francisco Opera, gave a talk about Giulio Cesare before the opera. He gave a general history of the composition itself, the historicity of the libretto, and a bit about the musical form. I learned that this opera was originally written for three castrati, and the part of Sesto was actually en travesti, a role meant for a woman to play a young man. I also learned that Cleopatra was the first Ptolemy to actually learn Egyptian, and she spoke six other languages besides.
The production presented is owned by the Metropolitan Opera, and six arias are cut out of it, as are some of the repeats. Otherwise it would be much longer.
The performance was sublime. It was easier to see the facial expressions of the singers from the orchestra, naturally, and David Daniels is a better actor than I thought. Bejun Mehta was wonderful too, after seeing him twice my opinion has solidified, and I will get a hold of one of his recordings soon.