Sunday, April 03, 2016

Sorry. I Hate Old People.

I know, I know...that's a terrible thing to say. But really, after I tell you about their behavior this afternoon, I think you'll join the anti-elderly brigade as well.

I attended the 2 pm performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute, by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at, unfortunately, the still "under renovation" and "worse-than-Bob-Carr" theater: Plaza Live on Bumby Avenue in the Colonialtown area of Orlando.

Of course I knew that a Sunday matinee showing would be jam packed with the blue haired set. And, my previous visit to this torture chamber of a venue was a clear and present signal that the OPO seems to pack 'em in by the nursing home full.

Just like last time, the chairs were still just old metal folding chairs crammed as close together as possible...allowing absolutely no breathing room for larger folks like me, for sure. My ass was killing me by the end of the nearly two and a half hours.

Also, when I came here in December to the Bach concert it was winter so, understandably (somewhat) it was quite warm in the place, I guess so the old fucks wouldn't complain. Well now it's spring and it still felt like the heat was on in there! You've heard of "Sweatin' to the Oldies?"...well I was sweatin' WITH the oldies!

The worse though was their cranky ass attitude.

The two old Jewish ladies to my right practically slapped me aside trying to wave "hello" to their other old lady friend in another row.

"Get that bony, vein-riddled paw outta my face, grandma, unless you want me to tear it from your arm, bitch!" I screamed silently to myself.

The grey-haired bag in front of me kept her fucking cell phone on forgetting how to shut it off while the overture was underway, blinding me with her colorful hot-air balloon themed lock screen.

"Why don't you get on that hot-air balloon and fly away you wrinkly, dusty twatted cunt!" I again, soundlessly bemoaned.

And why the fuck didn't they clap? Only occasionally did they give some half-hearted attempt to slap their hands together in appreciation of the performers. Did they think it sucked? As I'll lay out for you in a minute or so once I'm done with this tirade, the performance definitely did NOT suck.

And lastly, for now, why did so many of them chuckle during the Queen of the Night Aria?

"LISTEN YOU FUCKING NEARLY DEAD ASSWIPES...THIS IS MY FAVORITE FUCKING OPERATIC PIECE AND SHE'S DOING IT SPOT ON! DO NOT FORCE ME TO PUT YOU DOWN RIGHT HERE AND NOW 'CAUSE I SWEAR I'LL FUCKIN' DO IT!!!" was my immediate response. To no one but me in my head, naturally.

Alright, enough about them. On to the show...

Looking up on stage before the show began, I didn't have high hopes, I'll tell you. Minimalist theater is understandable and I can get into it, sure. But since this crappy former rock venue still looked like some metal band roadies puke-stained hangout the staging was all unkempt and looked literally like they took everything from backstage and put it out front.

But as the performance got underway...with "stage hands" sweeping and checking mics and the lighting director stage center during the overture doing light checks...well it became apparent that the backstage look to the entire proscenium minus the barren block of platform in center stage WAS the set. We were being let in on the workings and behind-the-scenes mechanics of the opera. But more than that, these "stage hands" and assorted "crew members" were actually the performers.

It was a great surprise when the 18th century period costumed players were waiting for the performer in the role of Papageno to appear on stage...and no one came out, so it looked as if the troupe made the decision to put a hapless stage hand up there and force him to perform the role. And then he sang. And you knew it was all a farce. He was the actor playing Papageno. Slick.

It also provided an opportunity to blame the drafted stagehand's supposed naivety with the "planned" German dialogue lines as the reason why the dialogue was "ad-libbed" to English. Again, very slick.

All the music was sung in German of course with the usual projected subtitles above the stage. Alex Elliot played the "last minute" Papageno wonderfully. He was spirited and quite funny plus his signing was most-excellent to boot. He frankly stole the show.

The Queen of the Night was played by Jamilyn Manning-White, in the vein of the backstage viewpoint subplot, as a kinda tongue-in-cheek diva. Perhaps this led some to think her famous aria was sung full of high-pitched trills for laughs. But I know she sang it as true as can be.

She didn't accentuate the visual portrayal of sheer evil madness as the great Diana Damrau, she acted rather aloof to the pathos of the words she was singing. Probably much like a tired diva would who'd performed the piece oh so many times before. Or perhaps that's just my wandering imagination. That happens when you become mesmerized by this cascading ethereal song.

Every performer with the exception of one was spot on really. The enlightened Sarastro who sets our love-struck starring couple on their Masonic-like test of trials and tribulations was played by Wilbur Pauley. I guess the role calls for a bass. But this guy was forcing it. He wasn't at all good in my humble opinion. I have no idea what he was doing there. Oh and of course...

He was way too old.

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