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  • I love opera, bluegrass, burger joints and fictional detectives. Mostly, but not always, in that order. Formerly of Dunedin, formerly of Sydney, now travelling the world with the tenor in my life (Stuart Skelton) and blogging as I go.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Comments

david

I have always advocated most strongly the need for the suspension of disbelief in opera. I remember the first time this first hit me was when I watched my first Butterfly in Sydney in 94.

As Butterfly started her entrance aria (unseen as is the custom)I was entranced and enthralled by the most glorious sound and even before she appeared, I was won over hook, line and sinker. It did not matter that when she appeared, she was not young and petite and oriental, but that she was somewhat large and buxom and middle-aged and black, even matronly. All that mattered was that Leona Mitchell's voice and acting and stagecraft made her Butterfly and you saw her for what she was supposed to be, not what she really was.

As much as I have tried, I cannot make this work with Dennis O'Neill and Nicole Youl and I like them both very much-they both have lovely instruments, produce beautiful sounds and Dennis O'Neill's voice continues to defy the reality of his age and Nicole Youl's voice is very much a work in progress, getting better and better with each year.

However, this is the 4th pairing that I can recall seeing them in and yet again the chemistry just did not exist between them. Suspension of disbelief just does not work for me with this pairing no matter how hard I try and I have!!

A lack of sparks and anger and jealousy and bitterness and even moments of love and tenderness between Santuzza and Turridu says much on this matter. This opera lives or dies on this relationship and sadly, here it died. I remember a Sydney production also in 94 that just sizzled and totally erupted with volcanic force because of the chemistry between these two. It was Claire Primrose and Gregory Tomlinson and it was one of those great nights in the opera due primarily to the dynamics between two principlas, regardless of the fact that they both could sing.

I walked away from this night uplifted by the music which is glorious, grateful for the chances to see opera, proud of the company and its performers and what it strives to present to the public, but also disappointed by what I know can happen and should, but just did not occur.

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