It's beginning to feel like that. Opening night, the lights went out and briefly stopped the show. The Saturday matinée did pass without event. Tuesday night was the Night of Three Emilias (Cheryl, Anke and Dinah Shearing), which I've heard described since as a "travesty" and a "trainwreck", among other things. Tonight, Cheryl's voice was back — or at least, enough of it to allow her to sing. She was a bit underpowered and, I thought, a bit distracted — understandable — but still delivered a top shelf performance, even if she isn't quite back in full health yet. But the curtain wouldn't work, so we had the enlightening, if somewhat disillusioning experience of watching the set changes. Emilia's Act Two throne, from which she receives all her suitors, kept sliding precariously about the place. And when Hauk-Sendorf brought her his wife's jewels in the final act, a string broke, and beads went flying everywhere.
So, not the best performance in the run so far, but still pretty fantastic. It sort of has to be. Funny thing with the ending. It seems the sort of coup de theatre which would work best by stealth: that the emergence of Emilia Marty Incarnate would have its greatest impact when unexpected. And yet I find it gets to me more every time I see it. Knowing it's coming only increases its power. The haunting strings which accompany her entry help as well, of course.
Audience too small, as usual, but nice and responsive — laughing at all the jokes, and a couple of the not-really-jokes as well, and clapping with suitable enthusiasm. Robert Gard's Hauk-Sendorf got his mid-act applause, as he ought. I'm hoping the web special will mean a fuller house for Tuesday's performance, and that our prima donna will be back to full, fearsome strength by then too.
And no, it hasn't escaped my notice that almost everything I've posted in the last couple of weeks has been tagged with the category "Cheryl Barker", but then, what did you expect? Diva is my (and this blog's) raison d'être.