Odious and Peculiar

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Friday, July 23, 2004
 

Simon Boccanegra

Absolutely fabulous. There's just something about Verdi that makes me break down; last year at La Traviata I at least had the excuse of having enjoyed champagne and a good deal of red wine before hand, but the duet between Boccanegra and Amelia had me sobbing. Again. What glorious music, though; and what a magnificent opera.

After Don Giovanni, which was also lovely, Simon Boccanegra felt cleansing. They're both great operas, but Don Giovanni demands intense intellectual participation really to enjoy it, and its characters are sympathetic only at the cost of our own moral or aesthetic sensibility. But Simon Boccanegra has characters with whom one can sympathise; their tragedy comes from the situation, and Boccanegra's end is far worse than he deserves (unlike Giovanni's), creating that fear and pity that I enjoy so much.

Superbly sung, and superbly acted as well, which one cannot always say. Paolo, especially, when forced to curse himself, had me unconciously clenching my fists, he portrayed his terror so well. Boccanegra walked the thin line he must, between tyranny and weakness, and won over the audience completely. And Amelia brought an innocence to her part that well suited it, and her interventions to save Boccanegra's life had a pleasant urgency to them.

UPDATE: Jack liked it too.



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