Sunday, April 02, 2006


The youth of opera are quite an invigorating bunch. Cam and I went to see the undergraduate opera L'Egisto by Franceso Cavalli at CCM this weekend and it was a pleasant surprise. The basic plot breakdown is this: Two couples are seperated by the Gods, and end up doing a bit of a lover swap. Venus wants to keep them apart with the help of her son, Cupid, and Apollo wants to get them back together (in order for his son, Egisto, to be happy). Our hero, Egisto, begins to go mad and (of course) everyone is falling in love and fighting over our heroine, Clori. By the third act no one has died, the couples return to their original loves, and all are happy. The end.

First of all, it was a Baroque opera--which can a lot of times turn out to be "bore-oque"--but done in a way that was both entertaining and impressive. Even comical at times. Sometimes I just have a hard time processing that these performers are just undergrads. Gives me quite a fire under my butt. Not only am I competing with the older performers with more experience than me, but now I have to watch out for the younger ones with more talent. But hey, I have always been one to love a challenge! So bring it on. It only makes me work harder.

But I digress. This opera was performed by an inspiring group of talented actors and singers. The opera was in typical baroque style: character enters, has short recit and sings their aria, then exits the stage. There was a lot of ensemble music and really some beautiful duets and trios. All in all, a very enjoyable, musical experience. Bravo.
:: posted by Bryn, 6:49 PM


Dear Bryn,

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is also doing L'Egisto this month, and I had the pleasure of seeing it Friday night. It was a revelation: funny, sexy, not a "Bore-oque" moment all evening. Also a bunch of very talented young singers coached, among other people, by Wendy Hillhouse, of the SFCM faculty. The production, enhanced with excellent set design, lighting and costumes, was sumptuous. An excellent orchestra of strings, woodwinds and continuo. Some incredible gender bending with one of the male lovers sung by a soprano and Cupid (a boy) sung also by a soprano, with the lusty, horny nurse (a dramatic cliche brought to life) sung by a tenor. Cavalli, the composer was a student of Monteverdi's and L'Egisto premiered the same year as Monteverdi's Poppea. The student definitely did not surpass the master, but acquitted himself very well.

Joe Haletky
Blogger Joe Haletky, at 1:24 PM  

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