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October 2001
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January 2002

Budapest and Vienna

We went to the Hungarian State Opera twice to see La Bohème and Manon Lescaut. They were having a Puccini Festival, so now I've seen more Puccini than anything else as far as opera goes. The opera house is so gorgeous, inside and out, though I've only been on the inside of five opera houses. The Markgräfliches Opernhaus in Bayreuth is the most fancy I've seen and the Wiener Volksoper the least.

In Vienna we went to see Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio at the Volksoper, and the difference between Puccini and Mozart was marked. Mozart is just incredible, even difference between his stereotype of "oriental" music and Saint-Saëns's shows this. The romantics just don't compare, not even to me, a person who really doesn't have much musical sense one way or other. I'm visual to a fault. The set and costumes were not to my taste, the set consisted of a modern glass palace that spun around, and the costumes were retro 40's. However, the singing was marvelous and so was the acting.


Two weekends ago I went to see Falstaff with a friend who graduated in Linguistics with me. It was much fun, the opera is funny and the staging was excellent. They had a wonderful model landscape background that included minute houses and even cows, and they did a fabulous rainy scene at the beginning. The crayoning on the walls that Nannetta and Fenton do is a bit much though. I've been told by my composer friend that the opera is horribly unmelodic. I suppose it is true, there is a lot of tittering. Anna Netrebko, who played Nannetta, has a beautiful voice, and is also very lovely to look at. I wish I had seen her in L'elisir d'amore, but she didn't sing until later in the season.

Pumpkin Eater

Halloween is my favorite holiday, though I think I could do without the time change that always happens before it. We went to Tosca with our lovely friends and had a splendid time. The opera was beautiful, all the singing was adequate. Eva Urbanov has a pretty voice. It was odd seeing the same production again with different singers, but I liked it, everything was nicely familiar. The second act was especially good, the music is best in that act. For some reason I find the overtures in Tosca to be strange, I don't know what it is.

Quite a few of the audience were dressed in costume, which was fun. I went dressed in an Egyptian belly dance costume that I don't dance in as I do a different style of belly dance. It consists of a forest green velvet top and a matching skirt that is half velvet and half chiffon in a lighter shade. There are silvery beads and sequins here and there as trim. It is a very silly outfit.