BWW Feature: New York City Opera Brings Music To Bryant Park
When I was a child, my father took me to a series of outdoor concerts at a park near our home. One of the programs featured excerpts from Bizet's opera CARMEN.
This was one of my first exposures to opera and since then I have become a major devotee. I have since joined the Patron Program at the Metropolitan Opera and give backstage tours of that building.
All this from exposure at any early age. I mention this because Monday evening, the newly restructured New York City Opera gave a little over an hour's worth of scenes from Puccini's masterpiece LA BOHEME. The audience was filled with young people, including many children.
A few of them were actually given the opportunity to participate in the scenes as "supers". Exposure to the arts when young makes all the difference in the world in terms of interest later in life, especially nowadays when youth seems to be hopelessly addicted to video, and schools have cut funding for arts education.
The performances Monday night were quite good. The voices were amplified, which makes it difficult to assess the finer points of vocal quality. The protagonists, Mimi and Rodolfo, were sung by Kristin Sampson and Michael Boley. They both sang well, with youthful exuberance.
Miss Sampson demonstrated a beautiful Italianate soprano. The remainder of the cast turned in fine performances. The musical accompaniment was via piano. Michael Capasso effectively narrated the action and introduced each scene. He has spearheaded the City Opera transition in the last few years.
It was a very enjoyable evening and it was indeed encouraging to see a large audience filled with young people.