Saturday, 20 July 2013

An Afternoon at the Opera

Growing up, one of the things my father introduced us to was the Marx Brothers, with one of the most delightful ones being A Night at the Opera. In this, Groucho, Harpo and Chico completly sabotage the perfermance of an opera in the aim of getting their candidate into the lead role.

Having seen this numerous times and thoroughly enjoyed their antics and the music from the destroyed opera performance, I thought it sensible to actually see the opera they ruin so spectacularly.
As a result, on a cold and wet and windy Saturday I took myself off to Leederville to watch a filming of a Met Opera production of Il Trovatore.

It was beautifully done, to what I'm sure would have been great acclaim and with a superb cast and orchestra, but I fear this was overshadowed by material of the opera itself; I have no appreciation for plays (and operas) involving unrealistic characterisations. and stupid plot decisions.

 As examples, Manrico is willing to kill the Count di Luna simply because his mother asks him to without even taking pause to ask her the reasons behind her demand, and di Luna isn't the slightest bit suspicious that Leonora is suddenly willing to marry him when previously her actions indicated her preference for entering a convent over marrying him.

Normally people would act logically and have a logical explanation behind their actions. These don't have to be moral or legal, but there is still a reason.  In the example of Manrico it is because Di Luna's Father killed Manrico's Mother's Mother and she wants revenge, while on Leonora's part she has decided to kill herself (unbeknownst to Di Luna) to save her lover and stop herself falling into Di Luna's hands.  The fact that neither Manrico and Di Luna contemplate these underlying reasons but openly and immediately accept what is put to them makes them unbelievable in my eyes.

I may be biased as I do love A Night at the Opera, but the Marx brothers did use the best scenes from the opera whilst avoiding all of the melodrama and stupidity that is incorporated into the plot.And they manage to throw in some delightful antics that would infuriate even the most peaceful of opera-goers.

It is sad that upon returning home I felt the need to watch Night at the Opera, if only to restore the natural order. After all, who can resist Harpo as a gypsy woman:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...