Friday, October 12, 2007

The Magic Flute, Part II

Normally, taking children to the opera would not be that comfortable of an experience for me. No matter how cheap the seats are, I always feel very concerned that their natural childlike behavior is going to compromise the enjoyment of people in our immediate vicinity. Going with a whole group of homeschoolers is a whole different kettle of fish. There were other kids there that my kids know, and lots of boys who are at least as disruptive as Ziad. In fact, I felt like I was sitting in a veritable field of squirming, and it felt good. Maya was wiggling in her seat, Ziad was laughing uproariously, a certain small amount of quiet discussion was not out of place. We had fun.

We were totally up in the nosebleed section. The singers onstage were mere blurs. And we were so high up that the lines of sight to the stage were interrupted by the curtain framing the stage. I know from experience that this will sometimes mean that you can't see the entire stage set, so I was not overly surprised when the Queen of the Night made her first entrance, hovering in the air somewhere over midstage, and all we could see of her was the lower half of her body. Several children were bending and twisting trying to get their eyes low enough to see her face, but no such luck. I kind of expected her to eventually get lowered down to the ground, but this didn't happen, so we didn't get to see her face until the second act.

One good thing about this vantage point however was the excellent view it afforded of the stage floor. And the stage floor turned out to be my favorite part of the entire production. It was covered with a design that was vaguely reminiscent of Gustav Klimt. (This detail from Klimt's work Hope 2 is meant to show the kind of design I mean.)

The amazing thing about this floor is the way different lighting completely changed its appearance. There was gold light that brought out all the detail and made the floor a rich, vibrant mosaic; then there was a greenish light that somehow made a lot of the detail disappear so that only the larger shapes and cooler colors stood out, so that the design looked much simpler and more austere. I loved watching that floor. You can almost see it in this picture:


As for the opera, when I asked Ziad what he thought, he said, "It was too long." I have to confess, he took the words right out of my mouth.



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