Last dance

Tonight to the final performance in Sydney of Opera Australia’s production of A Masked Ball.

Perhaps four times was more than necessary.  Literally, even once must be more than necessary, I know.  What I mean is that though I enjoyed it, perhaps my appreciation had already peaked.  In the first half, when I was a bit further back than I had previously been, I was acutely aware of the sad sound that manages to escape from the concrete pit.  The production had lost any shock value, even the thrills were mostly familiar and a certain degree of anorakish trainspottingness crept into my response.

In the first half, the conductor, Andrea Molino, had an odd, camera-like contraption strapped to his chest.  Will Cinemalive include some conductor-cam?  Maybe he had it for the second half but if so I didn’t notice it (I confess: I had moved.)

In the second half there was a bit of an outburst from somebody in the rear stalls.  It seemed to be a complaint that people or a person couldn’t wait.  I think probably he was remonstrating against the applause at the end of the slow part of Gustavo’s scene.  It sounds like it is over, and so the audience applauds.  In fact, there is a little bit more to come after the interruption of the offstage ball music, including the true big finish to the scene.  This was thereby deprived its proper response (though this in turn might be difficult to interpolate as it leads straight to the ball music).

I think the man was right in his view that the applause was premature, if that was in fact his view.  It’s a closer call as to whether it was worth a vocal protest.  I looked back and saw an usher heading up to his row in a precautionary way, though he sounded quite reasonable, if impassioned.  I do not think there was any reason to think any disruption would continue.

The applause at the end was particularly warm for Jose Carbo.  Of course he’s the local boy of the main four principals, but I like to think that this was in recognition of how he has developed and, indeed, grown into the role over the run.  I count this as a particular achievement on his part.


Rereading this it seems a little more downbeat than it deserves. I most certainly did enjoy the fourth performance. Maybe this post reflects a kind of law of diminishing returns – it’s hard for an upward trajectory to persist. One thing for sure is that plenty of the music is still rattling around inside my head and coming unbidden to the surface.

One Response to “Last dance”

  1. Ballo 5 | Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] Some of the more topical bits of the production (the “Occupy” “Joker” face) already seemed a bit dated, but over all I thought the production, and especially the performances, stood up really well, which is not always the case with recordings of things which one has enjoyed live (1, 2, 3 & 4). […]

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