Orlando at the Chicago Opera Theater

The fact that I have a problem with leaving operas at intermission came as a blow to the friendly greeter at the exit of the Harris Theater last Thursday when I bailed on Justin Way's Orlando. But don't blame me. Blame the enlightened faculty at the University of Chicago. Since I met Philip Bohlman, I can't help thinking silly things about opera today. For instance, that it has the power to keep systems of cultural domination -- systems that seem oh, so in the natural order of things -- functioning smoothly (which is to say, unnoticed). Like golf and caviar and summer houses, it's all fun and games to go to the opera and see brightly-colored Turkish harems from the 18th century and dancing Jews from the 19th until you remember than Turkey still can't get into the EU and Elie Wiesel still has memories of Buchenwald. Yes, I'm afraid it's good to remember that opera has an excellent way of glossing history, and no, it doesn't have anything to do with the music. The singing was top dollar. If you must go, go blindfolded.


No comments: