Sunday, January 11, 2009
Thaïs: Another Amazing Night of Opera
The Met was gorgeous as usual as Mom and I came in from the chilly night air. The familiar chandeliers huge over the anxious crowd. It was closing night for the sold-out run of Thaïs. I was super-excited and little nervous. I'd been counting down the days to this show. First of all, I'd never seen Renée Fleming sing live and I was really pumped for that. Second, Leah had gotten me the chance to go BACKSTAGE to meet Ms. Fleming! As you can imagine, I was a bit of a chattering wreck (poor Mom!).
We got to our family circle seats (which, I heard later, were the best seats that night) and settled in. The gold curtains heralded much extravagance to come. The show couldn't start soon enough.
And finally it did.
The opera was heavenly. There isn't any other word for it. The music was gorgeous, the singing was out-of-this-world incredible, and the costumes/sets were really great. It was so amazing. I just wanted to cry. Mom did (multiple times). I couldn't have asked for a better night.
Renée Fleming's last phrase was easily one of the most incredible things I've ever heard. (The dying-sitting thing was weird, but whatever.) She was at the top of her game that night. I was so sad (and yet excited) when it was over.
Thomas Hampson sang splendidly as well. His Athanaël was extremely well-sung and well-played. He was true to the character and he convinced me; that's all I ever ask. He was so nice when we met him after the show.
My favorite part (beside the final duet because that was just transcendent) was the oasis scene. I can't believe this scene wasn't originally in the opera! This scene makes the opera. It's one of those "Massenet, I LOVE YOU!" moments. The music was gorgeous (sorry; I'm running out of adjectives) and the acting was so great. Ms. Fleming did an amazing job here as Thaïs. She played her as this innocent (almost "little") girl. Everything about her had changed. She wasn't this sexy, empty woman anymore. She was pure and deeply alive. As she herself says, "everything is new." There was a sense of wonder in her character. It was so great to watch onstage. :)
Alright, this isn't much of a review, but this opera is beyond words. It was simply incredible and that's all there is to it. It's coming out on DVD next year and I am definitely buying it. I only wish that they'd recorded the performance I saw. Oh well. You can't have everything.
After the show, I met up with the Renée groupies. It was so great to meet people who are just as crazy as I am! Seriously, though. They were all so sweet and welcoming. It was great to hang with them backstage and during intermission. I met Leah, Chelsea, and Erin at intermission and Sarah (and some other really great groupies) backstage. What a great experience! I was on the list for "Ms. Fleming" and I got to go into the green room. We were waiting there and everyone was telling Renée stories for me (the newbie). Then, she just walks in. I was speechless.
Ms. Fleming didn't have much time to spend with us backstage because she had a special dinner in her honor so she had to be there. But she spoke to us all and signed anything we wanted her to. She signed my copy of her book (which is outstanding, by the way; a must-read for any singer).
Then she went out the stage door, where my Mom was waiting. She signed everything and took pictures out there as well. She always takes time for everyone and she's so low-key and humble. It's crazy! My Mom stopped her and got her to sign our program (she also got Thomas Hampson's signature!) and take a picture with me. I told her what a role model she is for me and she asked if I was a singer. She wished me luck with my singing as she ran off to her engagement. So I was the last person she spoke with.
What a wonderful night! I was on Cloud 9 after that. I want to thank Leah for letting me hang with her and her friends (the groupies) and for my Mom who takes great pictures and is a fellow music-lover.
P.S. Ms. Fleming asks that you excuse her "wig hair." I thought she looked fabulous anyway. :) (And that was one mad-cool wig that she wore!)