Saturday, April 24, 2010

Two artistic punctuation marks

I want to remember two small, but mighty theatrical experiences today, one operatic, and one ballet.

1)The Met radio broadcast this morning was Tosca. Patricia Racette sang "Visi d'arte," to which which Bryn Terfel (Scarpia) responded with three slow, sarcastic claps of applause. What a brilliant idea! It's difficult to imagine anything better than the way Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi played that scene, but Terfel definitely added his own creative stamp.

2) Tonight while I was ironing, I turned on Classic Arts Showcase.They aired an incredible pas-de-deux from Roland Petit's "Proust," with Natalia Makarova. I wasn't exactly clear about the story line, but it seemed to be like a young man was remembering a long-gone romance. Makarova lay still as death on the floor, on top of a puddle of silk made by the long drape extending up high behind her. There was nothing else on the stage. Her partner lifted her from it, and gradually got her to become a bit more animated.

Makarova danced as if she were literally a memory; fluid, impossible to completely capture. After a long series of backward steps, her partner finally realized he had to let her go, and supported her as she returned to the silken puddle. She laid motionless. But he moved back, with his arm out, hand outstretched, the entire drape fell from above, and covered her, as if it were a shroud! That single bit of stagecraft took my breath away.

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