Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Not with a Bang but a Whimper

I just returned from seeing the Lyric Opera's production of Doctor Atomic. The work ended in silence. Utter silence as the audience held its breath, wondering is it over? should I applaud? That lasted almost 15 seconds....really! That is a tremendously long time for there to be silence after a show. I love that. I actually often wish that I had a moment to enjoy the silence after the music before the audience goes leaping head long into applause, perhaps I am not ready for applause. I think that there is a lot to be said for allowing things to sink in so that you can really appreciate them.

But this is a pet peeve of mine, excessive applauding and even more irksome, excessive standing. Really I think that standing should be reserved for those moments where you just can not imagine a better performance.

Now the moment was clearly crafted just so this silence would occur, and it worked. There was a roar and then small strings then the stage slowly faded to black, and then it was the audience, I know I was willing everyone to hold off clapping as long as they could. It was great, from where I sat there was not awkward movement or giggling, just pure silence, almost as in expectation!

I enjoyed the opera in full as well, I found it to be really engaging musically the whole way through, but I have a soft spot for so-called post minimalism. Personally I didn't like that Oppenheimer's wife was a character in the opera. It's not that she was a bad role just a little heavy handed in the "humanizing" theme for my taste. Plus I had the feeling like she was there merely to fill the leading lady role that is of up most importance in opera. I actually would have been more interested to see this opera with an all male cast...meaning all male protagonists, I think that would be quite interesting.

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