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Experiencing the Opera

I was blessed to have the opportunity to completely let go for a day and take in Wagner's Die Waulkurie at the Lyric a week ago. With three acts and two 30-minute intermissions, the experience goes over 4 and a half hours, and an experience it was!

As a sound guy it was incredible to see a production using only live acoustic sound. There were no microphones to carry the orchestra or singers; only their robust talents. The singing as well conveyed so much emotion to the audience that sometimes the supertitles were not even needed.

It was also interesting to hear themes and pieces of music that I have absolutely heard before in popular movies and TV shows. The Flight of the Valkyries being the most famous to me.

As expected, the sets and costumes were excitingly lavish and detailed. Almost all of the scenery moved or flew in and out as the show went by.

But when it came down to it, it was the whole experience of letting yourself go for a day that really sold it for me. You really got to treat yourself to good music and I had great company. My friend Suzanne Hanney of Streetwise and I completed the experience by attending the preshow lecture and going to china town via riverboat after the show.

One of my professors once said that the theatrical experience is changing. The shows run shorter and shorter, but the experience of it all often remains the same. The theatre goers will visit restaurants or bars before or after and discuss what they saw. I cannot stress enough the experience of getting all dolled up to go to the opera then chatting about the show every 90 minutes or so. You were able to just get lost in the show, have a mimosa, and truly enjoy the splendor that is a full marathon length opera.

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