Posts Tagged ‘opera’

3:23 pm

Night at the Opera

My Friday night visit to hear Martinů’s Řecké pašije (Greek Passion) marked my first visit to any serious theater since leaving California. The opera is based on Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel Christ Recrucified.

Brief synopsis:

The preparations for the annual Passion play in the Greek village of Lycovrissi are interrupted by the arrival of refugees whose village has been destroyed by a Turkish attack. The refugees are defended by the shepherd Manolios, who had been chosen for the role of Jesus Christ. Other villagers, particularly the Passion play’s Mary Magdalene (who in real life is also the village prostitute), St. James, St. Peter, and St. John, similarly attempt to help the refugees, but the priest, Grigoris, leads resistance to their presence. Finally, in an argument, the villager Panait, the Passion’s Judas, kills Manolios, and the refugees leave the village in search of a new home.

This was my first visit to the National Theater (Národní Divadlo), since it’s not open to visitors except for performances. It’s a really lovely theater (alas that I’m still camera-less).

The performance itself was wonderfully sung and beautifully staged, and I very much enjoyed the evening out.

2:43 pm

Réjouis-toi, Marie

Notre-Dame is showing another "opera of images", like the Lumen de Lumine, Lumière née de la Lumiére show I saw in January. This one is based upon the Akathist hymn, a Byzantine hymn to Our Lady.

This one was not quite as successful, in my opinion. It is projected from behind onto a sheer screen. But this time of year at 9 PM, it’s still light, so the windows and sanctuary were visible through the screen, and the double images gave me a headache. In addition, the English translation (where it existed) stood in serious need of proofreading. It seems that Mary bore in her womb a "bake," thus serving as a sanctuary for "Gog," who is a friend of "makind".

The images were lovely, though (if only I could have seen them better!), and the music was splendid. And there was only one occasion on which a barbarian decided to take a flash picture.

After the show, I wandered along the Seine a little and watched the bateaux mouches go by.

I’m going to have to take one of those boat trips sometime soon. Before I leave Paris.

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