Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A cinematic night at the opera

Seattle Opera's Katya Kabanova - photo by Philip Newton; plus stills from the movies La La Land and All That Heaven Allows. 
By Rebecca Brown 
While everyone else was watching the Oscars on TV, I was sitting on my couch dreamily remembering the most cinematic opera I have ever seen in my life. Seattle Opera’s visually stunning production of Janacek’s 1921 Katya Kabanova is, by turns, as color-drenched as a Douglas Sirk and as black-and-white stark as the graveyard scene David Lean’s David Copperfield. Some of the background settings are as magnificent and lonely as the ones in Shane. Cinema is a perfect analogue for this original production because it’s so much about how we see ourselves and others, about how often we look judgmentally and destroy our very own.

The opening shot - a girl alone on an empty stage, a space constructed for art - morphs into a star dappled sky. I couldn’t help think of the both realistic and fantasy sequence skies in La La Land, beneath which the hopeful artists imagine becoming Hollywood stars or musicians.

A still from the Oscar-award winner La La Land. 
 In Katya, the starry background includes green swirls suggestive of the Northern Lights. You can’t see the Northern lights in LA, but you can from some places in Russia, where “The Storm,” a play from the 1850’s on which the Czech language opera was based, is set. Seattle Opera shifts the action forward a hundred or so years to l950’s America complete with all its miserable conformity, hypocrisy and social pressure.

Melody Moore as Katya. Philip Newton photo
After the solitary Katya dreams beneath the stars, the sections of a white picket fence are assembled across the wide length of the stage in front of her; she’s trapped. When the fence is complete, it’s framed on the left by an apple tree - this place looks as American as apple pie! Old Glory flying near the middle of the fence underscores the squeaky clean patriotism of the place. But the apple tree, of course, is hung with forbidden fruit, and at the far right of the fence are a couple of garbage cans. Not all will stay tidy in paradise.

Victoria Livengood (Kabanicha), Corinne Winters (Katya) and Nicky Spence (Tichon). Jacob Lucas photo
There’s not much original in this story of marital love gone stale, illicit love, the corrupting love of societal convention, etc., in Katya Kabanova, which is like a lot of movies. But part of why we go to these movies and plays and operas is to be reminded that our struggles as humans are common and that they continue despite the age in which we live and the medium in which they are told.

Scott Quinn (Boris) and Corinne Winters (Katya). Philip Newton photo
That this production can both so astutely translate Janacek’s opera to our age and connect it to the movies we watch as recently as now, is a testament to the vitality and invention of this company. Bravo Aidan Lang for commissioning this production. More please!

Rebecca Brown is the author of a dozen books  - fiction and nonfiction – published in the US and abroad. She lives and works in Seattle. See her opera reviews for The Stranger here


chenmeinv0 said...

polo ralph lauren
tory burch outlet
oakley store
coach canada
louis vuitton outlet
oakley canada
sac longchamp
coach handbags
columbia sportswear
coach outlet online

Unknown said...

What then does it mean to be an educator? Does it signify something different than the assigned job title? What I have learned through my work in higher education is that becoming an educator is not an automatic process. Everyone who is teaching adult students is not functioning as an engaging and highly effective educator. However, it is possible to learn how to educate rather than teach and that requires making a commitment to the profession.http://www.writingdesk.pw/

Unknown said...

patriots jersey
asics sneakers
light up shoes
timberland shoes
yeezy shoes
adidas ultra boost
air jordan shoes
adidas tubular UK

raybanoutlet001 said...

kobe 9
ray ban sunglasses
ralph lauren
baltimore ravens jerseys
michael kors uk
hugo boss suits
nike huarache
jordan 8
fitflops sale
ugg boots

Unknown said...

nike roshe run one
lacoste outlet
yeezy boost
asics running shoes
tom ford sunglasses
air jordan
pandora charms
adidas stan smith
real jordans for sale cheap
basketball shoes

raybanoutlet001 said...

true religion jeans
carolina jerseys
giants jersey
air huarache
coach outlet
ralph lauren outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
coach outlet
patriots jerseys
falcons jersey

jeje said...

adidas superstar
jordan 11
van cleef arpels
moncler outlet
100% real jordans for cheap
adidas tubular x
adidas ultra boost 3.0
true religion

adidas nmd said...

longchamp outlet
christian louboutin shoes
dolphins jerseys
new york knicks
chiefs jersey
converse shoes
pandora outlet
raiders jerseys
asics shoes
mont blanc pens

raybanoutlet001 said...

longchamp outlet
tods shoes
ralph lauren outlet
coach outlet online
nike huarache
coach outlet
coach outlet online
nike tn
oakley sunglasses
oakley sunglasses

Unknown said...

houston texans jerseys
salomon shoes
michael kors uk
air jordan 8
michael kors handbags sale
ralph lauren outlet
colts jerseys
replica watches
ralph lauren polo
ray ban sunglasses outlet

Coco Love said...

I am looking for my memories through the stories, the narrative of people. I feel it is difficult but I will try.

Pengobatan Tbc Kelenjar said...

Thanks please share this information if you are face any problem in Toshiba laptop. We will help you for more detail visit here
obat keloid
obat ginjal bengkak
obat thalasemia
obat benjolan di kepala
obat benjolan di payudara

Obat Benjolan di Belakang Telinga said...

This article is interesting and useful. Thank you for sharing. And let me share an article about health that God willing will be very useful. Thank you :)

Cara Mengobati Cacingan
Pengobatan Alternatif Penyakit Hepatitis
Obat Tradisional Cedera Lutut/Keseleo Lutut
Cara Menghilangkan Benjolan di Bibir
Obat Nyeri haid
Tips Menghilangkan Wajah kusam