Friday, August 21, 2009

My cup of tea was somewhat weak :( evoking further memories of “Tea”…

Last night, we were at Santa Fe Opera’s production of Donizetti’s “Elixir of Love”, one of the funnest and most melodic operas ever. If you’ve never been to the opera before, this would be a fine place to start… The production was stellar: original, aesthetically beautiful, and superbly executed. But the soloists’ singing left me a bit wanting… which brought back memories of the last time I left the opera here wanting for more – Tan Dun’s Tea opera 2 years ago.

Needless to say, as both an opera and tea lover, and a great admirer of Chinese culture, I had expectations for Tea… Tea, the opera, is set in ancient Japan and China, and tells a tale based on historic facts of erotic love, mystery and intrigue surrounding the chase for the legendary tea master Lu Yu’s Book of Tea. This too, was a superbly professional production by Santa Fe Opera, but the only things that remain in my memory 2 years later are a shrieking E-flat clarinet, great banners of paper being rustled and ripped, and the sound of water being poured in and out of uplit glass bowls.

Like with all artistic endeavors, the outcomes are mixed – from production to production, even from night to night. But with a house having the stature and legacy of Santa Fe Opera, we’ve been thrilled here enough times to know that the outcomes can be world class. With the exception of the amazingly lovely bassoon solo last night in the tenor’s aria, this production left me wanting for more than the warm personality and solid performance of the two male leads. So onwards and upwards to Don Giovanni tonight and La Traviata tomorrow… we’ll be sure to hydrate plenty and caffeinate ourselves before the long evening shows here at 7000 ft altitude with Bolder Breakfast and Earl of Grey Puerh. And here’s to hoping our next “cup of tea” in Santa Fe is stronger! (Image courtesy

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