The Egyptian Helen Rocks the House

Back to blogging, if in a minor way. While it still sounds as though I may cough up a lung at any moment, I am back at work this week slogging away chained to my desk and doing computationally intensive data processing - all the better to use that dead "waiting" time to catch up on a little writing, non? I may catch up in a sort of haphazard, non-linear way, so please bear with me.

I made it home Tuesday and then to dinner in time (early even!) after a bit of commuter stress (a building collapse in East Harlem on Lexington at 117th Street disrupted all the trains on the east side, including my train, on a day which was already tightly scheduled, thank you very much). The trains were running somewhat on schedule the next morning, but boy was I dragging. Again.

Marisa and I went to Rosa Mexicano for my birthday, her treat. It's quite good, a little on the pricy side ($18-$24 for entrees generally) but not outrageous, and the portions are quite large and the food is delicious. I've been one other time, and it was great then too. A great special occasion place. You have to get the table-side guacamole - again, pricy (I think $9 serves 2?) but treat it as the appetizer and go for it. It is so delicious. (They also have pomegranate margaritas - again, delicious. We kinda went all out.) Plus it is just about across the street from Lincoln Center, which is convenient. We were there about 1 hour 45 minutes, though not because of bad service by any means. They didn't rush us at all, the time between the appetizer and main dish was perfect, and we were having such a good time we had to run over to the Met with only 5 minutes to spare.

So right before the curtain a man walks onto the stage. People clap. I was like, why are you clapping people? It's always bad news when someone comes out on stage. It was Peter Gelb. He tells us that he's not there to give us bad news (more clapping this time) but that Deborah Voigt is suffering from illness and begs our indulgence (but that she will still sing, which is good since I don't think there were understudies for this opera). Marisa suggests that Deborah Voigt is freaking out backstage and Gelb offers to appease the masses. It's as good a theory as any.

All I can say is WOW about the music (so modern!), about the staging (very modern yet effective), about the singers. Go Strauss! I know Voigt is a big star, and she was wonderful - if that was her on a bad night I wonder what she is like on a good night! Honestly, she sounded great, and maybe she simplified or sang down some stuff, but who would know? Who knows Die Aegyptische Helena? Practically no one I would guess. I had listened once, on a broadcast, and wasn't really paying attention so much. (And honestly it was much better in the house for some reason - I think some works are just like that.) So for all intents and purposes it was perfect.

And Diana Damrau - I think I have a girl crush. Even though Voigt is the star I liked Damrau better. I love her so much - I can't believe she's made such a big splash so fast! I loved her in the completely coquettish role of Rosina and in the completely different dramatic, mystical role of Aithra. That's a hard thing to balance, I think, these very different kinds of roles. Some do it well, others, not so well. Damrau is a wonder, has a gorgeous powerful voice, moves around the stage with grace and ease, is a natural actress, and is slender and beautiful to boot. She will be in Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail next year (with Matthew Polenzani - squeal!).

Lest you think they were the only two in the opera, the men were all quite good as well. They just couldn't compete with the sheer size of the women's voices.

Yet another happy evening's diversion.

PS I will get to everything I have promised to get to soon. I promise. To get to it. Soon.


At 3:07 PM, Blogger Opal said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Sounds like you had a great time. Those pomegranate margaritas sound intriguing.


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