It is 6:30 AM in Harper’s Valley and I am preparing to go to the opera.
One of the quirks of our little red state in the sun is that we do not change our clocks with the rest of the country. It is part of our cowboy ethos, ‘We don’t need no stinking daylight savings time.’ Today’s Met “Live in HD” simulcast is Francesca da Rimini. Because it is on the long-ish side; a little under 4 hours including 3 intermissions; the powers-that-be at Lincoln Center opted to start the performance at noon (EDT) instead of the usual 1:00 PM. Last Saturday that would have meant a 10:00 AM start in Arizona. This week, because of that DST thing, it starts at 9:00 AM instead.
I’m intrigued to see this opera; as intrigued as I can be to see any opera at this hour; because it is one with which I am completely unfamiliar. Indeed, I don’t think I’d heard of the composer, Riccardo Zandonai, before this season was announced.
Consulting the reference books at hand, I find The Limelight Book of Opera mentions neither the composer nor the opera. I am more successful, however, by flipping through to page 1031 of Kobbe’s Complete Opera Book. F da R is an early 20th century piece with a text by Tito Ricordi based on a play of the same name by d’Annunzio. It premiered in London in 1914 and at the Met in 1916. The synopsis tells me it will be a tale of star-crossed lovers thwarted by an arranged marriage. In true operatic style, the lovers die in each other arms. It is sure to be a toe-tapper.
My best friend, Wikipedia, tells me Mr. Zandonai composed 13 operas, a number of sacred works. symphonic works including concerti or violin and cello, and the score for a 1936 French film. Who knew?!
On a possibly unrelated note, apparently I have become a saint. Having only a passing knowledge of all things papist, I am not sure how these things happen. For starters, I thought one had to be dead. I thought there was usually some kind of martyrdom or suffering involved as well. I did have to get up at 6:00 AM on a Saturday to get ready for Francesca da Rimini. Come to think of it, there is a new Pope; Francis. Francis?….Francesca?….hmmm. At lunch I shall try to turn water into Malbec.