Capriccio

On Thursday to hear Capriccio again.

I now wish I had not resisted temptation last week when there was another chance to catch it (the matinee was out of the question as it was well-booked).

There is now only one performance left.

Undoubtedly, with a little study of the libretto and the benefit of having seen the opera once already, I was in a better position than before to enjoy it even though (relative) frugality again dictated a front-row no-surtitle-view seat.

Not that I couldn’t have moved further back after interval had I chosen to.

OA’s pre-show publicity mentioned that Capriccio is a big night out for the clarinets. Really, it is a big night for the whole orchestra, but last night opened my ears to Strauss’s use of the wind choir as a harmonium-like quasi-continuo glue to stick the orchestra together. Five clarinets (including under that moniker a basset horn) and three bassoons were at the heart of this.

There were many other orchestral felicities.

There is an orchestral interlude (that link is obviously to a larger scale production) towards the end which sounds like the prelude to a fifth (properly ur-first) last song. (On reflection: fifth-last.) “Late style” seems palpable. Decadence (of the art form rather than treated as a question of subject matter) is just a curdle away, if it is not already manifest.

The problem is that despite Capriccio‘s evident appeal to the orchestra, such works do not apparently have widespread appeal to the ticket-buying public. Maybe there will be six-thousand of us for six performances in total – it all depends on what counts as ticket-buying. The house seats 1400.

I shall be going to the last performance, next week. I look forward to it. If you want to go, there were on last investigation plenty of seats left and I recommend you press OA for a discount if price is a consideration for you. [Good luck trying.] God knows, they ought to be willing to give you one rather than waste on empty seats the money you or I have already provided via our taxes.

In the meantime, there is to be a broadcast on Sunday night.

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