I spent yesterday afternoon watching the DVD (that I was sent by the OU) of Don Giovanni, the Bertoli (who played Donna Elvira) recording done at Zurich in 2001. Now I'm no opera buff but I know what I like (sorry for that old chestnut) and it really is not Mozart. With the exception of one or two arias which were, admittedly, beautiful, the rest really does not stir me one jot. One good thing though is that I've now been reminded of how much I love Puccini operas and I've just ordered a few DVDs. I have audio recordings of most of his great work but how much better to see them again and again as well.
One of my first jobs was working at the old Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, on the switchboard of all places. It was quite interesting because in the evening you would be in this quaint old telephone room all alone, get served a meal and usually have to connect the 'star performers' with their telephone calls. Yes, I managed to cut off quite a few of the rich and famous and after a few months I decided this really was not the job for me and that I should think about having a proper career as opposed to just a job. Anyway, the switchboard room was beside the paint frame - the place where the flats (the sets) were painted and it was much more fun to hang around there or up on the flies with the strong men who had to change the flats via a lot of pulleys. When I was on the day shift I spent my lunch and coffee breaks up on the flies watching the ballet rehearsals and marvelling at how strong they had to be to practice for hours and hours. I always find it very annoying when people say how effeminate male ballet dancers are because when you see the amount of rehearsal and practice time they have to put in, they have much more body strength than a lot of posturing guys at a gymn.
Another good thing about working there was that every employee received a pair of tickets for the final dress rehearsal of all new productions. This was done as an actual performance with no stopping for corrections and it was always an afternoon thing - this meant that I was usually working and could not actually go myself but my parents saw some fantastic operas and ballets for no money at all. I would sometimes pop into the back of the theatre for the evening performances and see the star names of the day, but it was quite uncomfortable standing for a long time in a hot theatre and I didn't want to buy a ticket, not when I worked there; much better to watch the rehearsals from up on high.
Anyway, I went off at a slight tangent then - It's Puccini operas for me with maybe a movement of two from some Wagner but you can really forget Mozart as far as I am concerned.