Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Off Book

Very briefly noted...Teatro Grattacielo seems perhaps to be run on pocket change and good will, so far be it from me to kick them when they're down, but I caught one of three acts of their Piccolo Marat last night. Either they ran out of cash like the rest of us, or someone did the math wrong: not enough printed libretti and no projected supertitles. This would be fine for Tosca, but for a work receiving (I believe the program noted) its North American premiere, it was a more than a little problematic. All I can tell you for certain is that "Il Piccolo Marat" turns out not to be Italian for "The Little Mermaid," and actually that's more of a hunch. I can mumble nice things in a generalized way about some of the singing, but there were apparently numerous cancellations and no program inserts (or, again, not enough) so I wouldn't know quite whom to praise other than the conductor. At intermission, i.e. after the show, we played a parlor game of trying to figure out who had sung what. We think the cute guy with the slightly too long hair and the wallop of voice on him matches up to the Israeli name in the program, but could not be certain. Yes, the music does sound worth further exploration, much more modernist than Mascagni's single* familiar work, but not as abstract art, I'm afraid...

*unless you're a big Magda fan in which case you probably know Iris backwards and forwards, and really Iris is divine, though in that case I always tried to read the libretto through my fingers.


Erik Bruchez said...

You don't seem to realize the immense effort that Duane Printz, Teatro Grattacielo founder and organizer, invests every year to mount a single performance of a verismo opera to give us the wonderful opportunity to discover rare works.

The two principal singers dropped two weeks before the performance for various reasons. Considering this and the difficulty of the parts, the performance was a real success!

The music of Il piccolo Marat is absolutely incredible, and Monday's performance at the very least showed the dramatic power of the opera. Too bad you couldn't attend the three acts to be convinced of that. One can hope that the Met will be interested in doing it at some point.

For reference two links to New York Times article on the topic:

http://tinyurl.com/coeglu http://tinyurl.com/cv9a3k

Maury D'annato said...

No, no. I get it. I do. It's great that they do it. But I don't enjoy things on the basis of effort or good intentions, for the most part. It is quite difficult to listen to three hours of music as absolute music, and my Italian isn't good enough that I could have any guess what was going on. I hope they have many happy seasons to come, but I can't pretend I got anything much out of the experience, and I don't think two more libretto-less acts (there wasn't even a summary in the program, by the way) would have helped a lot.