San Francisco Opera CinemaCast: La Rondine

So the promised response to the “Met at the Movies” from San Francisco Opera took place this weekend (and still today and tomorrow – see this post for details) with Puccini’s La Rondine (The Swallow). I suppose this particular production was chosen because it was Angela Gheorghiu’s debut with SFOpera and she’s a big name etc. I have to say that driving 50 miles to pay $12 to see a pre-recorded and edited version is a bit of a nuisance, and I am not positive that I will do it for the other three scheduled “CinemaCasts” – I wonder why no major movie theater in a large city I happen to be living in was included, my theory is that SFOpera has a deal with Carmike Theaters that are equipped with special Digital Picture things that are not present anywhere else… Speaking of digital picture: it was pretty digital, but the sound was still very much like any movie sound, thus the question – why did SFOpera went for a superb image and not a better quality sound?

The actual performance of this opera took place in November 2007 and one can find some reviews of that event here and here. I have to say that I have never seen Angela Gheorghiu in any performance, so having read so much about her confirmed “pain in the ass” diva status I was eager to see what the fuzz is all about. I was impressed with her vocal ability and, honestly, taken aback by her complete lack of any considerable acting skill. In fact, I would say her range of artistic expression is about that of an overly emotional high school cheerleader – everything seems so fake and obvious, she sings with these incredibly contorted facial expressions, it’s hard to describe or find a good photo. Her voice, on the other hand, is amazing – I think that maybe since she’s such an incredible diva and a difficult person to deal with, she takes acting notes from directors as violations of her awesomeness – I’m sure SFOpera could not afford to do what Chicago’s Lyric did and fire the big diva if she didn’t like something or was not following the rules.

Generally speaking, this particular event is not going to compete with Met’s broadcasts in any way – it’s nowhere near a large city, it’s a pre-recorded movie, it’s barely worth the effort. There was about 15 old people in the room on Saturday at 1PM showing, so I am not even sure if this things is financially going to do well.

2 thoughts on “San Francisco Opera CinemaCast: La Rondine

  1. A long story, but, in a nutshell: ONSTAGE: a wonderful entertainer; OFFSTAGE well-named by many: LaVampirette
    (musically, a great voice in some registers, but no Grammy in two decades+ of singing; the embodiment of a modern vampire offstage…)

  2. Time has proven me right, and even that Ana revels in her rep as “La Vampirette”. Time was, I would’ve written a libretto or the music for that, when she behaved as she does before the vampire feeds… but….now…I enjoy the occasional performance only, and the music only, not the histrionics, as the first reviewer noted. Its even money or worse in Vegas, if AG will do more than 2 of her scheduled performances of Tosca in SF in Nov 2012.

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