* Notes *
Pocket Opera performed an English language version of Eugene Onegin yesterday at the Hillside Club in Berkeley. Donald Pippin is utterly charming, and his narration and translation of the text were both lively. The production is likewise cute and accessible. Though the playing was not entirely together and the musicians were far from being perfectly in tune, everyone performed with a lot of heart. Part of the problem was that the orchestra was behind the singers, creating a great deal of chaos as far as synchronization. The singing too had flaws, there were swallowed notes, some shrillness or thinness at the tops of certain voices, as one would expect from such a small, local opera company. Nevertheless, there were more than a few moments of intimacy and beauty, and some of these very same imperfect voices were able to sound quite lovely. The chorus was lilting and did well with all the scene changes. Though hearing this opera on a small scale like this might seem a bit peculiar, it is appealing and may make one appreciate the work with new ears.
* Tattling *
There was a particular person who blocked the entire aisle with his walker, shoving my seat which was neither directly in front of him nor adjacent to his. Since this was fire hazard, an usher had to deliberate with him about putting it somewhere else in the hall during the performance. This same person was unable to understand make out the words as they were sung and unable to see the supertitles. He yawned loudly and at the end of Act I, nearly pulled out the chair under the person in front of him as he used it to stand up. He had the good sense to leave at intermission.