Le Ministre in an upcoming performance of "Capriccio"

I’d like to inform any of the Victoria or Vancouver area dopers (or any of the NW Washington dopers, come to that) about a set of upcoming performances that
I’m in. I’m singing the role of the Major Domo in the Canadian premiere of Richard Strauss’ “Capriccio” with Pacific Opera Victoria. Tickets and dates, as well as a synopsis and libretto can be found at this link. Link - http://www.pov.bc.ca/capriccio.html

I’m especially happy about the way this production has come to life - this is not an easy opera. The plot is wafer thin, yet subtle. The libretto is full of self-reference and the music is full of inside jokes. For example, when the character of the prompter talks of falling asleep, the music subtly invokes the scene from Richard Wagner’s “Siegfried”, where Fafner the dragon says he is asleep.

I came out to Victoria hesitating about whether to recommend this production as a first opera. I think there is more than enough to the direction, the design and the performances to recommend it, despite the difficulty of the actual piece. (It’s two and a half hours long with no intermission. You may have heard the criticism of ‘Pélleas et Melisande’ that goes “Nothing happens and Melisande dies.” - in this, nothing happens and nobody dies…)

I must also mention the Artistic Director of the company, Timothy Vernon. It is incredibly daring to take on this daunting piece in a city of around 250,000 people. When asked ‘Why Capriccio?’, he will respond passionately about Strauss in general, and about the beauty of this piece, but also there is a direct connection for him - Hans Swarowsky, who found and translated the sonnet by Pierre Ronsard that forms the core of Capriccio, was a student of both Strauss and Clemens Krauss, co-librettist. Swarowsky became a conductor and a noted teacher, counting among his own students Claudio Abbado, Zubin Mehta, Bruno Weil, and Pacific Opera Victoria’s own Timothy Vernon, who is conducting this production of Capriccio.

I hope that some of you can make it to this production. Many thanks to the Mods for allowing me to post this thread.

Cool. If you bring it to Houston, I’ll go.

First of all: WOW!

So, you’re a bass? Wow, again.

I’ve heard Strauss’ last opera only once in Munich, in the Bayerische Staatsoper, the place of its world premiere (though later, of course, I’m not that old).

I think the libretto is funny and more profound than it appears to be at first.

Unfortunately, I’m thousands of miles away or I’d have loved to hear you sing. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck … wait, what exactly do you say to an opera singer before the premiere?

Good luck. Any broadcast of the performances?

Be sure to post the review.

Hello, Le Ministre!

I missed you in Regina, so I am very glad that you posted this thread!

This will not be my first opera, so I am going to take a chance with an unfamiliar peice. I have ordered my ticket. Being poor at the moment, it’s probably not the best seat in the house, but I will be in the audience for you on Thursday, March 4, 2010.

I have been to Pacific Opera Victoria several times, and really enjoy both the music and the chance to get dressed up and enjoy it live. I really no longer give a tinker’s dam if I go alone–I like me some opera and I don’t care who knows it.

I try to go once a year. Last year I really, really enjoyed Madama Butterfly (yes, I brought tissue and yes, I needed them) and then found out I could have seen you. But it’s been a year since I’ve gone, so again, I’m glad you posted.

Sing good! I will be in the audience to applaud!

I just “tweeted” to promote it, too.

What’s it like to sing so big and beautiful? How long are you in Victoria for? Are you here now? We have sunshine and flowers at the moment, so I hope you are here. Are you mike’d at all? Can you see the audience? Doesn’t it get hot under the lights? Are you worried that the audience is not terribly young for the most part?

I would like to go just to say, “Hey, I argue with that singer over there on the internet!” :smiley:

I have never been to an opera, but I would go just for you, Ministre. :slight_smile:

Well, curiously, the singer performing the role of Olivier is now based in Houston. I’ll get him right on it, 'cause I’d love to do this piece again.

I’m deeply jealous that you got to see it in Munich, even if it wasn’t the premiere.

Singers, like actors, have rather superstitious traditions of what to say. The Germans either say ‘Hals und Bein brochen’ (‘May you break your neck and a leg.’) or say ‘Toi, toi’ while pretending to spit over your shoulders. The French say ‘Merde!’ (‘Shit!’), the Italians use an old hunting expression ‘In bocca al lupo’, to which the only acceptable response is ‘Crepe lupo!’ (‘Down the wolf’s throat’ or ‘In the mouth of the wolf’, and the response is like saying 'The wolf’s gonna snuff it!") Russians use ‘Ni pukha ni pyera’ (‘Neither beak nor feathers’), again taken from an older hunting expression.

English folks tend to say ‘Break a leg.’, though my personal favourite is the much more direct ‘Try not to fuck up.’

We are being recorded for broadcast, prolly in July or August after the Met season closes. I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

I will post the review, though if I get mentioned in it, being one of the characters with the least to sing, it can only mean that I f*cked up so royally that the papers felt the need to rub my nose in it…

Oh, how fun! Yes, I’ve already been here for a couple of weeks, and because I’m playing Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, I will be in this lovely part of the world until the end of April. No mikes - totally unnecessary in the Royal Theatre (though I’m not sure if they have to put the percussion in the loading dock again - if they do that, they get miked into the pit.) My contacts don’t really stretch as far as the audience, especially seeing we are in bright light and they are in the dark. Yeah, it’s a bit warm up on stage, but I can never tell if it’s because of the lights or because of the running around we have to do. No, we somehow muddle through even though our audience tends to be in the senior range of the demographic…

Well, I’m still trying to get another gig in Calgary - it’s been 10 years since I did Fledermaus there. In the meantime, the closest I get is Edmonton this fall, and this time, I have to drop down for a Calgary dopefest. I hear you guys know where all the great bars and restaurants are…

And I envy you your talent; I couldn’t sing to save my life … or rather it might very well cost me mine if I ever tried it with armed people around.

[smart ass mode]
In German, it’s “Hals- und Beinbruch!” (break your neck and leg) The phrase might just be an appeasement of the powers that be, but it could also be a corruption of the jiddish wish „hatslokhe u brokhe“, which means something like “success and blessing”.

And we repeat the “Toi” three times because, well, that’s the charm.

[/smart ass mode]

“Hals- und Beinbruch”,
“toi, toi toi”,
“Ich drück die Daumen!”,
“Riemen- und Dollenbruch!” and
“immer eine Handbreit Wasser unterm Kiel!”

Well, where they serve good beer, anyway. :slight_smile:

Two reviews to report -
The Victoria Times-Colonist
The Globe and Mail

Sadly, I didn’t knock over enough of the scenery to get mentioned in any meaningful way, but I’m still happy to see this production getting great notices.

They’re very good reviews!

But you were mentioned, which is something.

As an aside, I’ve seen a couple of great productions in the last few days here in Berlin at the Staatsoper: Figaro last night, and Faust a few days earlier-

I’m looking forward to seeing it!

I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy Victoria in “blossom season”, too.

Two nice reviews! I hope the rest of the run continues to be as successful.

Please forgive a zombie bump!

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recorded our performances of “Capriccio”, and they are being broadcast on CBC 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera tomorrow, Saturday, June 19th. I believe they are available to ‘stream’ live from that link. The broadcast starts at 1PM EDT - my bit will probably be on around 3PM or so.

Oh dear. I was flat out all weekend singing five performances of Mozart’s Requiem, and I’ve only just seen your post about the Capriccio broadcast. Quel dommage.