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Monday 12 October

Hotel, 5 P.M.+, after a day's walking everywhere, looking at things — essere turista è un duro mestiere. (Resuming Saturday evening:)

After hotelling ourselves and showering (why should a brief trip in electric trains leave anyone feeling gummy and sooty? but it always does) and pouring ourselves into suits — James looking much better'n me, Liberty (London) vs. Brooks Brothers, altho' that's not fair to the latter since there's now 'way too much waist on that suit for me — we braved the packed throngs of the evening passeggiata to get our tickets waiting for us at the Teatro Mancinelli; no problem at all, tickets there and nearly an hour to curtain time.

Not hungry due to our adequate lunch in S. M. degli Angeli, we browsed for something that might be open after theater; there was none, neither found we any, but a young man, rather busy running his own restaurant (la Taverna dell' Etrusco), which closed at 10, accompanied us out into the street to give us careful instructions on getting to a pub a coupla hundred meters away that serves full meals 'til the early hours.

That finally done, back to the theatre, good seats toward the rear of the parterre (about 3 rows behind us): we were in Row IX, on the center aisle. No overhanging dress circle though, altho' 5 balconies plus I think an SRO level. We paid 50ML per seat, and heard and saw perfectly, except in the rather too frequent moments when the cast were cavorting on the floor — this is the late 20th century after all —

It was a good performance overall, with some fine voices and Doña Elvira was a rather good actress; the tenor Don Ottavio the weak link: either a spinto or having a bad evening as I put it, which James was amused by, but then what do I know about opera.

Modern clothes, minimalist set, and two ramps across the orchestra pit, with the actors entering via the audience aisles and on one occasion Leporello doing a spot of (successful) procuring for his master from the audience itself. Withal, not that much rolling around on the floor, and some of it made sense; in fact, the intelligent staging and lighting (in particular, at the beginning of Act II Doña Elvira's aria was delivered from the upper stage and she looked like the statue of the Commendatore as traditionally rendered) brought out all kinds of things. A rather psychoanalytical interpretation but not excessively or distractingly so; in particular, very successful when the Commendatore comes back at the end: the most extraordinarily masculine display I think I've ever seen — short fellow in street clothes and a very good bass, powerful voice and very clear enunciation (admittedly they advanced him up almost into the audience to improve the volume, but still the guy had a voice alright).

After Don Giovanni, we went to the pub shown to us earlier, but billows of tobacco smoke so we turned right around to the hotel and in for the night.


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Page updated: 27 Apr 02