Pictured is the lobby ceiling at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the new home for the New York City Opera: I post this great full sail of an image on the occasion of having seen and enjoyed PRIMA DONNA, a modern opera by songwriter and folk music scion Rufus Wainwright.
As usual, part of the fun of going to opera is overhearing the opera buffs parading their opinions during the break.
“The music is big, but the conductor is so little.”
“This isn’t my cup of tea, but there’s a note that she holds in the second act that makes it all worth it.”
Okay, well, the music did surprise me with its bigness, although I didn’t make any note myself of the conductor’s stature. And, yes, she – whom I took to be the soprano Melody Moore – held a great many notes very well in the second act. The whole thing turned out to be my cup of tea, however, especially in the self-reflective qualities of the material, which is an opera about opera with all of the ironies, paradoxes and fourth-wall busting reminders that entails.
An interviewing reporter asks Moore, as an opera star planning her artistic return, if she would be so kind as to sing for him, which she does at the piano, but of course she has been singing already for quite some time, setting up a fascinating change of “key”, perhaps in the music (my ear is not knowledgeable enough to say), but certainly in our perception of it.
That is just one example of what I found interesting about this meditation on fame, artistry and fandom, and for many more reasons I also found it moving.