Opening Night at the Los Angeles opera! I didn’t get the chance to see Fidelio last year at the Met, so I was able to get tickets to see Fidelio this year at the Los Angeles opera. The true stars of the show were the sorta-out-of-place cool media graphics in Act 2 (a 3-D digital extravaganza that gave us the feeling that we were going into the depths of prison to reach the victim of our story, Florestan), Anja Kampe as Fidelio/Leonore, and Klaus Florian Vogt as Florestan. Kampe, very unconvincing as a “man”…sang brilliantly. Vogt’s voice was so strong, his plight as a starving, dying prisoner was a bit out of character. Their voices were so glorious, overcoming any character and plotline flaws…and these voices were as solid as many I had heard at the Met.
The opening scenery was a bit odd; it looked like a minimalist torture chamber with odd looking torture devices in the background. Don Pizarro the jailer, sang by Matti Salminen, seemed very passionate and protective of his prisoners, which made the torture chamber even stranger. The plot is even more illogical, what kind of wife would dress up as a man, get engaged to a woman, in order to get to her husband she loves? Come on! The speaking lines in between the singing was very jarring…I had never attended an opera with speaking lines. The singers were speaking their lines as if they were singing, in lilting tones. Very very odd. Like an opera-musical.
The LA Opera orchestra was amazing, as always. It was especially rare to see the orchestra members getting a bow at curtain call. You can see them filing on stage in the photo above, as the chorus members/singers all scooted off to give the orchestra their due.