Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Intimate Opera

Okay, right off: no ghosts. Nor did I sneak a photo last night (because, as Letty from Ararat mentioned in yesterday's comments, I'm a piker). This is the salon at the Fenyes Mansion where, 100 years ago, Eva Scott Fenyes held entertainments, and where last night a more modern group of Pasadenans (Pasadenyites?) were entertained by the outstanding Repertory Opera Company.

I'm not a qualified opera critic, but I'm qualified to know when I've enjoyed myself, and I had a wonderful time at Music in the Mansion. I've seen/heard the LA Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, which is truly grand. But to hear Puccini's "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta" sung in the intimacy of a room like the Fenyes salon is a rare experience. A powerful voice quickly fills a room like that, then it has to go somewhere. So it fills the listener, brimming up through the body and pushing out through the tear ducts.

And if the Puccini doesn't get you, Rossini's Cat Duet will.

They're going to have two more concerts: May 6th (take your mom for Mother's Day) and June 3rd (what the heck? take Dad).

At intermission, we ate chocolates and sipped champagne while mingling with the performers and other audience members in the dining room. The chandeliers glowed. The mansion was briefly ours.

Update: per Jeannette Bovard, Media Consultant at Pasadena Museum of History: "Information from the Collections Department at the Museum states that the owl was stuffed by Dr. Adalbert Fenyes. One of his many hobbies was ornithology."

20 comments:

Thursday Girl/Hollis the Cat said...

Hmmm...a cat duet...!?!

Intriguing...

Meow.

USelaine said...

What a lovely sounding (sounding?) evening. And what a treat for the Pasadenistas! ;^)

art reproductions said...

The owl on the banister really catches my eye. What is up with that?

from cali said...

Yes, what about this cat duet? Sounds really funny.

Elizabeth said...

The "Cat Duet" - Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti. The melody was originally part of a more serious opera Rossini's Otello, but it was then published as a cat fight. The words are, appropriately - meow. Our two singers - Leslie Dennis and Belinda were particularly wonderful in this piece, even to the point of playing with a ball of yarn.

You can see other singers perform the duet on youtube:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoPu-A23hxg

Last nights concert was extremely fun. Join us for future concerts.

LizBeth
Artistic Director
Repertory Opera Company

Chuck Pefley said...

That is one lovely performance space! Lovely!!

Pont Girl said...

What a beautiful interior - I can just imagine all of the wonderful parties that were held there. I don't doubt for a moment that you had a grand time, Petrea - sounds like a blast!

Petrea said...

thursday girl (and of course, hollis): see Elizabeth's note below. The youtube video gives an idea, but last night it was funnier and the voices were far superior.

artreproductions: good question. Jeannette Bovard from the Museum saw your comment and sent me an email. I've updated the post with her answer.

from cali: now you know about the Cat Duet. Another thing I was charmed by: I kind of expected the singers to just stand by the piano and sing. I would have been happy with that, but I was so pleased when they entered for the first number with all this acting going on. Some of the company members are especially good actors.

Speaking of....
Elizabeth! LizBeth. Hello! As I told you last night when we met and you didn't know I'd be blogging about your group, I thought your direction was terrific. (Not to mention your singing and acting.) Thanks for checking in here and adding your expertise to the comments.

Chuck, I don't doubt that Seattle has spaces like this just waiting to be inhabited by the musical and performing artists your city is known for.

Pont Girl, I met a French photographer there! Alas, his name was not Eric.

Pont Girl said...

Are you sure it wasn't Eric in disguise? He sure does seem to get around! Go see the Baccarat if you haven't already.

Katie said...

Fabulous interior! Love the hardwood floors, the great rugs, and that owl! I can just imagine your evening of music, with a break for champagne and chocolate. Petrea you risk sounding like PDP Eric, off to wonderful events all the time!

Jim said...

I the room is very nice and masculine. I wonderful it would be to be there.

Petrea said...

Ah yes, Katie, next I'll be skiing in Chamonix!

Lily Hydrangea said...

You write beautifully about experiencing the opera!
Pity about the ghost no show...

Lily Hydrangea said...

Beautiful photo as well!

Petrea said...

Thanks, Lily.

Rose said...

It sounds wonderful Petrea...
I love the opera...

Anonymous said...

Hi Petrea,

Mezzo-Cat here. Thanks so much for the cudos. It was really a nice space to sing in, and the cat duet was fun to be sure. An interesting tidbit...the ball of string came to me in a dream the night before the concert. As for the owl, I was glad it was relocated for the concert. Where I come from, in Santa Monica, many a cat has lost it's life to such an owl. Looking forward to future concerts at the mansion!

Belinda Wilkins

Petrea said...

I thought the owl was relocated for his own safety. It never crossed my mind that he (she?) was moved for the safety of the performers.

Miss Havisham said...

I've been in quite delight looking at your dailies. Oh, my soul. I love each one!

Petrea said...

Oh, Miss H, you know how to make a person's day!