'Tis done, I am a psychopath. This afternoon I finally saw my last Otello. This, if you have lost count, makes seven. There aren't any more. If there were, I can't say for certain I wouldn't go. Right now I'm just relieved that the Melbourne season has a different Desdemona, because while I can (just) afford to see it a billion times here, I really couldn't be jetting off to Melbourne for more of the same. It hasn't quite broken my record. That's still held by Streetcar, but only because last year I was still a Friend of the Opera and I made to the dress rehearsal as well. In terms of proper performances, it's equal. I expect this record to be broken in January next year, by Madama Butterfly. Cheryl sings 12 performances, Antoinette the other 11, I don't know how many I will see but I think it's safe to say it will be a lot.
What I said after the second performance has proved indeed to be true — that a review written now would be in some ways very different from the one actually published. Not so much in terms of the singers — although were I re-writing, I would probably look in thesaurus for some different words for Cheryl, having noticed the other day that I'd used the same description of her in two consecutive reviews. (What can I do? She is sweet and vivacious!) However, my opening night complaints about the conducting/orchestral playing have more or less evaporated. I'm still not entirely satisfied — there is still something slightly sterile about Simon Hewett's reading, he seems more determined to demonstrate technical facility than to simply give himself up to the music and, in turn, breathe life into the score. But there's no doubt that by the end, the orchestra packed a whole lot more punch than they seemed to on opening night. My feeling is that perhaps we've met in the middle on this: that the conducting and playing have tightened up over the season, and that meanwhile I have stopping wanting something different and agreed to enjoy them on their own terms. However, if Simon Hewett is coming back to this city — and we know that he is — I have just one wish. No more humming along with the score. We can hear you. And it's annoying.
There's more to be said, but as 99% of it concerns Cheryl Barker, I'll save it for another post.