Under the joint sponsorship of Colorado Mountain College and the National Repertory Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera High Definition announces its 2015-16 season of broadcasts made available in Summit County. The Metropolitan Opera season will commence with the performance of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” on Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Paul and Eileen Finkel Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge at 11 a.m.
The intermissions during each of the performances provides interviews with the singers and views of backstage scene changes by a host of stagehands.
Each performance on Saturday begins at 11 a.m., except for longer operas when the curtain may rise at 10 a.m. Prices are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and $10 for students.
WHY ATTEND AN OPERA
The question might be asked, “Why attend an opera”? The immediate response from many might be “for entertainment.” However, for others the experience may go far beyond mere entertainment. For the music lover, the visual and auditory access to the lilting solo arias and recitatives by casts of top singers, robust choral ensembles, the choreographic stage settings, costume design and background orchestral harmonics played by professional instrumentalists under the baton of high-class conductors provides an experience that goes far beyond mere entertainment.
In a broader sense, for those attending the performance of an opera, the actions and interactions of the cast may bring back personal memories of real-life situations in which past ambitions may or may not have been realized, or where past potential successes of the future are re-enacted. The stage actions and music often provide those attending a personal reconciliation or transformation of real-life situations to a higher level of acceptance.
I am reminded of a past performance of the Wagnerian opera, “Gotterdamerung” (Twilight of the Gods), that I had attended at the StatsOper in Berlin, Germany. At the end of the final act, the lofty castle of the Gods, Valhalla, was being demolished, seen burning in the background stage, as the curtain was descending. There was absolute silence in the audience for several seconds after the curtain had dropped.
In looking around at the many white-haired elderly in attendance, I perceived that the majority may have been of WWII vintage perhaps with memories of the collapse of the Third Reich at the end of the war. When I mentioned my perception afterwards to my cousin, he corrected me.
“No, the action of the entire opera with its music reached the souls of those attending,” he said. “In our German culture, it is not uncommon for people not to applaud after an outstanding performance, whatever the setting.”
In reflecting on this experience afterwards, there are times of late when I am not seen applauding immediately after a musical or other performance because I have been “touched to the soul.” The lack of immediate response, of course, may be challenging for the performers who might misinterpret this as a failure on their part. I have made it a point to contact performers afterwards expressing my deep appreciation for sharing their talent.
It has been my avocation and interest in music, particularly in opera, that has encouraged me to work with the Colorado Mountain College in sponsoring participation in the high definition broadcasts from the New York Metropolitan Opera. Bringing the live music of New York in to Summit County has provided for a major cultural benefit.
The Eileen and Paul Finkel auditorium at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge, with its advanced camera projection and superior acoustics, provides an intimate visualization of all phases of the musical performances and stage production. A community of Saturday opera-goers is evolving. All are invited, particularly members of this writing class (invited as my guest), to personally experience an opera and its communal camaraderie. You won’t be disappointed.
The Met Opera is a partnership between Colorado Mountain College and the National Repertory Orchestra. Elmer Koneman is a volunteer and opera enthusiast; Cecile Forsberg is the artistic and operations director with the NRO.