I don’t really know much about opera. I know that I love the sound of a good operatic vocal, and I have enjoyed a number of performances of and inspired by opera. On Monday evening I attended a concert called Disturbia, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank. The first piece performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra that evening was Francis Poulenc’s one-act opera La voix humaine sung by soprano Ilona Domnich. This must have been quite a challenge for the singer, as the emotionally unstable character of the piece is speaking to her ex-lover on the telephone and so is both acting and also singing in uncomfortable positions. To begin with, the strange concept of half a telephone conversation being sung in English was rather a lot to adjust to but, by the end, I was completely gripped by Domnich’s performance. It was like film noir… something I never thought opera could be.
Now something else has cropped up, which will hopefully expand my knowledge of opera a little further. Something rather feminist, in fact! Ah! Forget My Fate! is a brief history of women in opera, and promises to be part chamber opera and part cabaret. It offers “a pithy and poignant overview of the duplicity, the daring, and the many deaths of women throughout the operatic tradition” which sounds like a marvellous place to properly commence my opera education. There are two late performance of this piece – on Wednesday 16th and Friday 25th November – and I shall be heading there for a spot of midweek musical feminism soon. Hope to see you there too.
Image via Ilona Domnich‘s website.