The last thoughts I shall have before seeing it again tomorrow night...
- My eternal gratitude to whoever thought to give 'Elle' red painted toenails. They're a fabulous touch.
- I get the feeling that some audience members - not to mention the author(s) of the information on Opera Australia's website - are, as I suspected might happen, under the impression that the character's name actually is Elle. Like, you know, Elle Macpherson. Or Reese Witherspoon's character in Legally Blonde. Or...actually those are the only two I know. Anyway, it isn't of course. She's anonymous. In a sentence, she's 'elle' with a small 'e', she's a pronoun from the stage directions. But the official synopsis will insist on describing her as 'forsaken Elle'. Perhaps they should have translated the pronoun, even if 'she' sounds rather less exotic. (Robert Mitchell does, in fact, in his beautiful programme notes.)
- Speaking of translation, I can't quite believe I managed to write all I did about this production and forget to mention the wonderful English translation being used. I get easily annoyed with English translations - too easily perhaps - but this one, by Joseph MacHlis is superb. It matches the French text both literally and in spirit and tone, it's musical and singable, it flows like natural speech just as the French would. There's nothing which jars, nothing silly in it, and indeed it's been so well-written that it could quite possibly stand on its own as a libretto: unlike some translations, it steps nicely out of the shadow of its original, without radically re-shaping anything. I like it. I particularly like that the phrase 'mon chéri', which is repeated so many times, has been left untranslated.
- If you subscribe to The Opera Critic, they have three photographs from the production: the one I've posted already, and two others. All gorgeous, though from where I was sitting there were a few thousand even more beautiful photos to be taken. But no matter.
- What, exactly, is this? Now I don't want to seem humourless and awful, but it does seem a rather absurd exercise in missing the point.
- Buying tickets to all five performances of this opera was not a particularly cheap exercise - nor, some might add, a particularly sane one. Indeed, the opera tickets cost me more than flying here did. But as far as I'm concerned, doing so was one of the most sensible and cost-effective decisions of my life. I couldn't bear to be in Melbourne while Yvonne Kenny sang here, and not be present. That's a thought I can't even process. And as far as cost goes, well, what of it? Saturday night alone was worth infinitely more than what I spent on all the tickets together - and I get to see it four more times. Me felice appieno.