Feeling swell at the Lyric Opera
I was fortunate enough to attend the opening night of Manon at the Lyric Opera Saturday. I'm not qualified to review the show--I'll venture only to say Natalie Dessay was captivating in the title role and the lavish production of Massenet's opera commanded my attention after a rather tepid opening scene,before stepping aside for TOC classical & opera maven Bryant Manning's upcoming review post--but the cognitive dissonance generated by the gala event was noteworthy.
The Civic Opera House opened in 1929, six days after the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression. I was reminded of that fact Saturday night when, mere hours after watching the latest CNN Breaking News updates about the nation's current financial crisis, I stood with the swells singing the national anthem. It felt like the opening scene of a movie which would then cut to pictures of people on bread lines mere months later. As I munched on miniature cupcakes and drank Champagne at intermission while ball gowns bustled all around the opera house's spectacular lobby, I hoped we weren't on the precipice of another calamitous crash.
My friend Chris Jones at the Trib recently mused on the good timing of several theatrical productions that resonate with the current tenuous times. Manon, which examines the fall of those who focus only on the allure of superficial pleasures can expect, certainly fits that bill as well.