Friday, August 14, 2015

Peace out

The Opera NEO summer festival is one of San Diego's secret pleasures. This year's final production is Handel's "Rinaldo," performed in an outdoor amphitheater on a hillside with an impressive baroque orchestra. The singers, coming from across the country (some still undergraduates), are really good - Handel's not easy. And the witty production has all the virtues of poor theater. Who needs smoke and mirrors when you can use light sabers, indeed what could be better?! "Rinaldo" is a story of the Crusades, ending with the conversion of Saracens moved by the clemency of the Christian heroes - a difficult story for 2015? The story hinges on a good sorcerer who helps the heroes vanquish the sorceress who has abducted the hero's betrothed. (He's the one who brings the light sabers, in a blue IKEA shopping bag.) A pre-performance talk mentioned the unfamiliar idea of a Christian sorcerer but In this production he's a hipster yoga master - you've seen young opera singers singing while lying down, etc., but never in a pretzel shape! - and he leads the choral finale in a group yoga dance: brilliant!

No comments: