A Wyoming Christmas — and an opera? I wore my best insulated tinfoil Cowboy hat to see “Les Miserables” Christmas Day and maybe should have seen The Hobbit or Djangles Unchained, instead.
After a third (enough is enough!) family Christmas meal and a birthday party for the two year old — well attended by great grandmothers aged 88 and 90 and the grand nephews 2 and 4 (an interesting combination), I escaped to see one of the first two sold-out very cold Casper, Wyoming Christmas Day showings of the movie “Les Miserables” — and, sadly, dozed through some of it, eyes closed, listening more than watching, and nodding off. (It was the excellent prime rib.) My wise mother declined my invitation to the movie.
Every line in Les Miz was sung: So I guess that makes it an opera? The crowd and chorus scenes were the best, the children singing just terrific. Hugh Jackman was awfully good. A few of the best tunes opened my eyes.
Still, I slept for some of the three hours, arriving exhausted at the grand finale three hours later.
Maybe I will watch it again . . . better rested . . . but I doubt it.
My Philadelphia Muse/opera guru Harriet responded:
“I LOVED Les Miz on stage – couldn’t get enough of it. Of course, with a long show, you get breaks, intermissions. Did they give you an intermission at the movie?
Not quite an opera . . . but certainly a opera populi . . . an opera of the people. But so were many of the operas we know and love today. Whole families would come, bring their meal, and throw food if the performance didn’t live up to their expectations. I suspect some of our Broadway Shows will enter the opera circles in the future.”
And I replied:
“There may have been breaks during my naps.
I suspect the movie had more individual little songs and maybe fewer rousing crowd, chorus and march music, but the sound was really perfect. I understood every word . . . something not likely from the stage over an orchestra.
The previews, interestingly, showed the actors filmed singing “live” — listening to only one piano through ear pieces, so the song-talking followed a melody and was consistent, easy to understand. The orchestra music was added later, words were never drowned out. Some music added to the first part of the movie was a little distracting, at least to me — but it got better.
Look at me: I am an opera “pouli” critic! Of course: I have never heard what they put on stage for comparison.
I noticed the crowded movie theater was very attentive — for the Cowboy State. All seemed awake — bless the dedicated Casper musical/opera lovers. There were lots of school age children present seemingly enthralled, much to my amazement. Many of them, it turns out, had performed in a high school production of Les Miz last winter. I should have gone.
Please go see this version soon. I am interested in your opinion. I will look for bits of the stage version on YouTube.
Looking for airline ticket deals: when is the Philadelphia opera season? Oh, and will Gettysburg and the Barnes’s art museum be open? And the ? . . so much to see and do!
Some but not much snow in this part of Wyoming — yet — but it is getting cold tonight. Santa had a clear warm day to do his stuff. We also played with the horses and all had a good time.
Mom and I toured the decorated homes on icy roads. I continue to wait for the announcement of my sainthood nomination.”