Monday, October 6, 2008

Confessions of an Opera Addict, Part VIII

Critics Gone Wild!

The humor and absurdity of opera that I explored in my SFO reviews found its way into my novel, Gabriella's Voice, but also drifted into my reviews for Metro - which was, after all, an alternative newspaper, affording the perfect venue for a little attitude. Once, when the female leads lacked the power to penetrate either the orchestra or the the abysmally sound-sucking Montgomery Theater, I referred to it as "a new Anthony Hopkins/James Gandolfini production, 'The Silence of the Sopranos.'" Later, fed up with the preposterous Masonic plotlines of The Magic Flute, I wrote, "if master dramatists Verdi and Puccini were transported back in time to witness this thing, they would probably feel obliged to kick Mozart's ass." (And yes, even though the music is divine, I still feel that way). My favorite, however, was when an OSJ mezzo found a new, innovative way to play Carmen, one of the most often-overacted characters in opera. It read simply, "That Layna Chianakas is such a slut." The story inspired a phone call from Layna herself, who told me that my review had everyone backstage laughing hysterically.

Photo: Thomas Truhitte and that slutty Layna Chianakas from Opera San Jose's 2000 production of Carmen. Photo by Daniel Herron.

See original Carmen review:

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