La Cenerentola – regrets?

I am trying to be frugal this year, and I am already regretting it.  Yesterday, I swapped my tickets for Saturday’s performance of La Bohème for tickets to tonight’s performance of La Cenerentola.  (That’s Rossini’s Cinderella.) If it weren’t for the frugality push, it would have been easier by far simply to buy the additional tickets to La Cenerentola.  But I stuck to my resolve.

What this resolve reminds me of is the occasion, many years ago, when I went to buy a student rush ticket for Britten’s Death in Venice.  The box office person at the Opera House offered me a really crumby seat.  I was sure (and I am sure still) that there were better ones available.  It was Britten, for heaven’s sake!  Notwithstanding that I had waited a while and was right there ready to go, I declined the seat I was offered and walked away.  It was years before I got to see it.

And now (as I regret the exchange) I realise that this time too I have been standing on my dignity: how dare Opera Australia dish up a revival so soon as part of my subscription series! And La Bohème again! Really!

The reason why they dare is that Bohème is pretty much a never-fail crowd pleaser. I am no more immune to that than anybody else – no matter what superior tastes I like to affect.  I know I would really have enjoyed La B. Although the production had a mixed reception when premiered the year before last, I liked it then and found it as sincere an approach to the problematic operatic nostalgia for youthful bohemianism as one can expect.  And even if the Mimi and Rudolfo are rather lightly cast in this year’s revival, I would have got to hear the admirable Jose Carbo.

The even sillier thing is that I have swapped the tickets for a revival of an ancient production of one of the silliest operas ever, a production which as recently as 2004 I saw three times when it was mounted by the WA Opera in Perth.  (Never say you can’t see enough opera in Perth – you just have to be prepared to see the the same opera a lot.) Not that I regret that at all – because I was there for work rather than for life, I didn’t have so much else to do, and Rossini and Perth’s His Majesty’s Theatre make an almost ideal match.

So, I am hoping that I will overcome my regrets, at least tonight, even if they resurface on Saturday when I realise I could be wallowing in Puccini. There are some warning notes in McCallum’s review in the SMH, but the thing about Rossini is that it really can be so utterly delightful. I shall report.

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