Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Fuming at the opera

It had to happen sooner or later: OTR’s first ever mention of opera. Naturally, it involves some fuming, slow handclaps and boos from the stalls. Per Paul Cullen’s report in today’s paper, there was trouble long before the chubby lass …

Mon, Dec 7, 2009, 17:34

   

It had to happen sooner or later: OTR’s first ever mention of opera. Naturally, it involves some fuming, slow handclaps and boos from the stalls.

Per Paul Cullen’s report in today’s paper, there was trouble long before the chubby lass sang at a performance of Aïda at the O2 on Friday night. Strange how that venue is beginning to attract bolshie oiks and not, as everyone might have thought, for the Clubland 3 or Spandau Ballet gigs. Instead, it’s the opera heads and Cat Stevens’ fans who are causing all the trouble. Ban this filth now!

Anyway, the gig was billed as “the most spectacular version of Aïda ever staged” in Ireland by promoters KC Productions and it sounds like it was all that for sure, though probably not in the manner the promoters intended.

Paul says there were “walkouts, repeated rounds of slow handclapping and complaints by disappointed concertgoers” about the show.

“Most criticism focused on the set changes for the opera, which were carried out in full view of the audience and under full lighting because no curtain was used. The hammering involved in set building took 10 minutes for each of the seven breaks. The lengthy set changes sparked rounds of slow handclapping, as well as causing delays. There were further complaints about the subtitles being impossible to read from many seats, the video screens being hard to read and the lack of any programme.

“One opera-fan even had a pop at the “blacking up” of the eponymous heroine of Verdi’s opera, set in ancient Egypt. “The performance was an insult not only to my senses but an outrage to black opera singers,” Geraldine Jennings told The Irish Times.”

Comparions were, of course, made to the infamous visit of Babs to these shores in 2007.

Meanwhile, Michael Dervan, Irish Times’ opera dude, has reviewed the show, which he describes as “far too flaky to leave many positive impressions”. He goes on to talk about “interventions from the audience, in the form of ironic and irritated applause and whistling” and adds “don’t be surprised if the hilarious cushion supply scene appears on YouTube”.

Naturally, there were opera buffs fuming at Joe today as well, with KC Productions boss Kieran Cavanagh on air to reply to the complaints.

Man, is opera ALWAYS this much fun?

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