Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Armide, a baroque opera at University of Maryland

Jean-Marie and I went out on Sunday with another couple, Skip and Kate, to see the Baroque opera Armide, by Christoph Gluck, which premiered in Paris in 1777 and which, despite his German origin, is in French. Skip is a music professor of the harpsichord, very learned, and in our couple of conversations, I've learned a great deal about various aspects of baroque music, about which I am a passionate amateur. I am not a great fan of opera, however, and I figured that I would mostly appreciate this opera as an academic performance, a chance to hear music on original instruments.

I turned out to be quite mistaken. The performance, by students mostly at the University of Maryland, with a local orchestra on original instruments, was terrific - but I found myself quite engaged by the theatre and story, and actually focused on the opera as story telling, not as music and certainly not merely as an academic exercise.

Much of this interest had to do, my wife insists I point out, with the fact that this particular opera is saturated with sex, and the lead soprano was both a marvelous singer and quite a looker. Particularly as she spent much of the opera in some state of undress, with her costume apparently supplied by Victoria Secret. It added considerably to the academic allure of the experience.

What can I say? I'm shallow.

1 comment:

bigmike47 said...

Hello Professor Anderson,
I've been enjoying your blog for a long time and finaly decided to post a comment. I'm a big opera buff (and have been a supernumerary in some opera productions), but I must confess I've never seen Armide. Several years ago, I was a "super" in the Florida Grand Opera production of Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea which was performed on period instruments with the conducter directing from the harpsichord. A then unknown counter tenor, David Daniels, sang the role of Nero. Have you ever attended a Wagner opera? That's quite an experience on many levels, not to mention a long night at the theater! By the way, how is the classical music staton in Washington? We no longer have a classical station in South Florida: I know because I worked at that station (WTMI 93.1) for nearly 15 years before it changed formats. Later I also worked at an AM station where they tried the classical format, but that only lasted a couple of years.
In an earlier post, you mentioned Renee had to decide which school to attend in the fall. I sympathize because when I was her age, I had to make a similar decision and my parents wisely let me make it. I'm sure it will work out for the best whatever she decides. Keep up the great blog and all the best to you and the family...

P.S. When will the U.N.book be coming out?