Thursday, March 25, 2010

'Marriage' A Wonderful Farce, but

Opera Review

The Marriage of Figaro
Lyric Opera Chicago

With a sublime score by Mozart--including an overture that stands as one of the maestro's most famous works--The Marriage of Figaro is on many a short list of the best operas ever written. With the music itself making for an rewarding evening's entertainment, augmented by the Lyric's typically impressive scenery and a top-notch (as far as I could tell) assemblage of international talent, it would seem silly for me not to award @@@@@ for artistic merit.

But in terms of my own acute enjoyment, I must admit I liked the previous night's entertainment, Beauty and the Beast, a good deal more. Even after a decade-long, 40-opera attempt to indoctrinate into the art form, all I can do is appreciate it; unlike rock, Broadway and some jazz and classical, I never "feel it."

I also have found that I have opera amnesia; although I saw and enjoyed both Tosca and The Merry Widow this past January, I can't tell you anything that happened in either opera, let alone recognize the music and especially the lyrics as anything I've heard before. And for all that was great about The Marriage of Figaro, including quite a bit of humor--it is a comic opera after all--I could have been quite satisfied with about an hour's worth, rather than the nearly four I dedicated to a story line worthy of Gossip Girl.

So especially this being the last of the Lyric's productions for 2009-2010 and only Carmen among the best-known works on their slate next season, I think I'll probably step away from opera for awhile, or at best attend just one performance per year. The experience has been worthwhile, but if the question is, "Do you love opera?" unfortunately not even The Marriage of Figaro can make me say "I do."

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