I went to the opera yesterday, after brunch at the Cliff House and a quick visit to Golden Gate Park. I'm glad I went to the pre-talk so I could know beforehand, that Mark Adamo, who is the creator of the opera version of "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene", was raised by a divorced woman, his mother. I can only assume that his focus on Jesus being taunted as a "bastard", and therefore with a resultant anger at his mother must have been because of this. I felt I was watching a psychological healing that didn't relate to the supposed humanizing of Jesus.
I've enjoyed opera in the past for the play of emotions, the change of tone, the change of sets. Other operas I've seen have been in Italian, but I didn't even need to read the translation to know was going on. With this, I had to read every word, and it was sung in English. The men behind us left at the intermission pronouncing it "didactic". The woman next to me also left at intermission, so I had a great deal of space in the second half to enjoy the "light", the illumination of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
The idea of the piece was to reveal what is now well-known, that Mary Magdalene has been confused with another woman, and instead of being a prostitute was the wife of Jesus, and that she herself was a healer, and possibly the originator, or certainly care-giver of these ideas on compassion, forgiveness etc. I understand humanizing, but I can only stand so much bickering about who gave or did most, men or women. Maybe I'm out of date, okay, I am, but I thought opera was about music and passion. I expect to be taken on an emotional journey through a variety of notes, tones, and visual images. I didn't find that here.
On the other hand, I just finished reading a book that I think anyone who enjoys architecture, accomplishment, history and intrigue would enjoy. I recommend The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Fantastic. Thumbs up.
A friend just sent this to me:
Now, there I can breathe.