Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dido and Aeneas - First Premiere for Myself;-)

Some thirty (30!) years back my mother tried to introduce me to opera (actually there was no opera house in Mainz where I come from) - it never quite connected. It took the arrival of the new intendant and some turbulences in the web (on the new website of Semperoper) to reconnect my latent interest.

The newly set up Semperoper Junge Szene had today its second premiere at 12 o'clock (High Noon ;-)) with "Dido and Aeneas". On Friday I checked for tickets - bad luck. So I thought, "Why not try on Sunday - if not getting tickets, there is always the Albertinum or Residenzschloss to enjoy culture" (on a year-round pass (!)) - off into the icy and still melting snow (more grey watery mud) at half past eleven.

(Un-)surprisingly quite a crowd awaiting and no ticket again - but as one calls it in Ultimate Frisbee "No disc is lost until it really touches the ground!"- so I waited in line in hope for some returning tickets together with a few others. And got a TICKET:-)

Due to standing in line and my mind focused on getting a ticket I forgot about catching a booklet (to pre-inform myself about the performance). A bit of insight on what would seen on stage I had learned via the Facebook group of Semperoper Junge Szene.

Written in the 17th century it took no big deal to transfer the story into the present situational context of a girls boarding school. Even the feeling of the giggling girls came over quite well. What started with a stare on the unquestionable iPhone (probably reading about the message of her boyfriend breaking with her) emerged into a plot where three time-layers (IMHO) intermingled: antique, medieval, and present.

The girls coming from a winning tennis match, about to party with the landscape of thoughts quite open ("white canvas") they see their companion in grief, try to engage her in their party feelings (which does not really work in the beginning). Not long and they put the story of "Dido and Aeneas" into life.

What are the take aways from this morning? I'd like to share what my PresencingStatus:
  • Good: dared to get a ticket, another opportunity to learn about opera (step by step), feeling the power of the crowd, a beautifully created booklet setting up emotions (racing us back to the days of our own school days, remembering the pillow fights ;-))
  • Tricky: honestly not having read deeper into the story beforehand, not used to understand opera voices (I guess for me in German it is even worse ;-)) 
  • Learned: sitting in the middle of the watching crowd let me experience the voices of critics (writing for a newspaper), and enthusiastic fans, never go to a opera without having prepared and learned about the plot (!), staying seated till the very end opens up new paths of seeing the world 
  • Action: book wish for Xmas, Reclam Opera Guide and Ballet Guide, revisit "Dido and Aeneas" a second time
Still in the learning phase of understanding deeper the inner play of opera, and thankful for any comments if you have seen the piece as well.

PS.: In English in honor to the protagonists of the play who have sang in English.
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