*A lot of empty seats after interval. I expected some scarpering, but not quite so much. It doesn't surprise me, but at the same time it's something I personally cannot comprehend. How do you get as far as paying (significant) money for your seats without discovering enough about the style or subject matter to suggest you might not want or be able to cope with it? And even having got to that point, what a shame that so many people seem unwilling to be challenged: to return for the second half even though they found the first difficult to take, just to see if, with a bit of effort, some kind of musical or theatrical reward might actually be unlocked. These are people who came to a Shostakovich opera with the words "Lady Macbeth" in the title. What did they expect? If they were shocked, why does that mean they have to go home? Would their lives and sanity and delicate sensibilities really be destroyed by one more hour of a highly respected, artistically sound opera written seventy-five years ago? Was there really nothing, not a single note or moment or phrase or idea or anything in the first act which suggested this was something other than a nasty monster from which to flee? And now I will stop and take a breath. If you think this is a rant, you should have heard me last night. And this morning.
*I hope we can have Susan Bullock back. Very, very impressive. And it was touching to see her blow a kiss heavenwards for Richard Hickox at her curtain call.
*My hat is off — yet again — to Jacqueline Dark. Not only for her singing, but for handling one of the most harrowing, brutal scenes in the entire opera, the workers' assault of Aksinya, with such courage and commitment. My respect and admiration for Jacqui continue to increase. She's a real treasure. (Apropos de which, Facebook users, have you joined the Jacqui Dark - Opera Singer fan club yet?)
*May Opera Australia's partnership with Sir Richard Armstrong prove to be a long and fruitful one. Based on Lady M last night, I'd be happy to see him back here any time. With his résumé and increased involvement with OA, it's hard not to wonder if he might be a contender for the music director job. We'd be fortunate to have him, I think.
*Did anyone who was present happen to spot Marie Bashir? The printed cast list carried an "in the presence of" note but I didn't see her or her liveried attendant.
More, much more to be said, but my share of it will have to wait for a day or two. Meanwhile, the mass exodus from Lady M has nothing on the vociferous booing which evidently greeted the cast and production crew on opening night of the Met's new La Sonnambula, starring my Natalie, of course, and directed by Mary Zimmermann. I was only able to stomach a handful of comments at Parterre before closing the browser and listening to Natalie's Italian Opera Arias instead. However, there are far more insightful and balanced (not to mention wittier) assessments to be found from three of my favourite New York operabloggers: Maury D'annato, Wellsung and AUV. I'm looking forward to the HD broadcast of it more than ever now.