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In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

What is this experience?

Feb 11, 2011 4:20:00 PM
By BLO Staff

Walls covered with plastic tarp, personnel with
freakishly robotic friendliness greeting you with lines of "What is your
name?" and "Sorry, our facility is under renovation at the
moment," the atmosphere hardly felt like an opera was about to be
performed inside its space. It was unsettling. The older crowds looked as if
they weren't sure if they had bought tickets to the right show. But for me, I
felt as comfortable as if the former group was sitting in a box seat at a
traditional opera house. It was giddiness that was silently taking over me. I
could not wait for what was about to happen.
The lose wires and unassuming scaffolding, and
bits and pieces of props littering the stage plus the onstage orchestra -- it
felt like we were invited to a personal rehearsal. The entire space felt like
it had sprung out of spontaneity, as if friends were gathering around to
improvise a little storytelling rendezvous. However unfinished the
aesthetic may seem, the product was anything but powerful and in depth, and deeply
calculated. Every bit of surprises and unusual choices seemed to have been pored
out of much thought and in want of reaction -- and reactions they got.
For the first time in my life, I am made to
feel sympathetic or rather, admiration, towards Death. It is an unusual story
that is much more prevalent than one may think. Death does not make one suffer,
but relieves one from suffering. Death is a good guy, if you really get
to know him.
What
a present surprise the whole evening was for me; opera in its nontraditional
form. Much more intimate space, you could literally see the actor's jaw
tightening from emotion. And in English -- never mind that some words were hard
to understand without the super titles, it was gloriously wonderful to have
heard it sung in a language I understand. BLO needs to do more of this.
This production was bold, inventive, wonderfully thought provoking, and
visually a feast for those who cannot pay attention for long periods of time,
which was to say perfect for me.  
- Ying Songsana, Emerson College

Topics: Opera Annex, Student Posts, The Emperor of Atlantis

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