Monday, May 18, 2009
An Afternoon of Opera ... Opera??????
I met Richard Kinsey in Colorado in September 2006. My dear poet friend Judith invited me to her annual Christian Artists' retreat, Ad Lib, to do a children's program. Richard Kinsey and his equally-talented wife Susan attended and provided a musical program that was simply amazing. Although I spent most of the time with the kids (including the Kinseys' delightful daughter), I was able to occasionally sneak in with the adults and enjoy the artistic discussions among fellow believers. It was incredibly affirming time to share with other Christian artists not just regarding the arts but about the place of the arts in the Church as a whole.
Earlier this week Judith contacted me about driving up to the Escondido Center of the Performing Arts for a concert in which Richard Kinsey would be singing. I had no idea until we arrived that opera was on the menu. I don't mind opera, but I don't love it, either. I don't like listening to it on the radio -- I guess it's something you have to see and hear in order to appreciate it.
Well, we had a bit of an adventure in getting to the Performing Arts Center in Escondido. (Somehow I always get lost in Escondido. It's an unlucky place for me to wander, I suppose.) Judith and I were talking so much that we drove all the way through Escondido before we realized that we had mixed our exit. So, quite glad we had left 30 minutes early, we turned around at Lawrence Welk Way and headed back south, this time carefully watching the exits. We were still confident as we approached our correct exit number ... and then realized that it was closed for construction. We took the next exit we could and then tried to figure out where we were. I had a map of the San Diego area unfolded in my lap, but the detail was insufficient to tell us much. We drove north but realized that we were also traveling east; on a hunch, we took 17th Avenue westward and happened to end up on the correct street with five minutes to go before the performance! Aha, a fighting chance! But then we realized when we couldn't locate 340 Escondido Blvd. that we were on South Escondido Blvd, not North Escondido Blvd.
We drove further north ... and found our way blocked by a Street Fair that closed down the center downtown area. We looped east then north, then back west and finally arrived at the Performing Arts Center. We had to wait until the first number was finished before we could seat ourselves in the orchestra section. Then our horror: our seats were in the very center of a loooooooong row of people, and we would have to step over every single one of them to get to our seats, and we had to move rapidly before the next aria started! We scooted, apologizing, to our seats and plopped into them, breathless and red-faced. We didn't dare move even during the Intermission, just in case.
But the songs were beautifully done, and with humor, too. The conductor, Jung-Ho Pak, was delightfully lighthearted and informative. We had missed only Die Fledermaus Overture, and enjoyed selections from The Merry Widow by Lehar, a couple of Offenbach arias including the hilarious "The Doll's Song" in which the soprano moved jerkily like a doll and had to be wound up twice by the tenor and baritone. Richard performed "Figaro" from Rossini's The Barber of Seville wonderfully well, and we enjoyed Mozart arias as well. After the intermission, we settled in to hear mostly Bizet and Pucchini, including the wonderful tenor aria "Nessun dorma" from Turandot sung quite famously last year in the TV show Britain's Got Talent, and this tenor was just as good. The program concluded with the toasting song from Verdi's La Traviata. Such a wonderful, wonderful program!
Judith and I had a short visit with Richard Kinsey after the show. He's such an incredible Christian man, and his face glowed as he spoke to us about how God has grown his faith in the difficulties of this past year as he has had so little work. Richard is perhaps best known for his role as Inspector Javert in Les Miserables on Broadway and around the world. To see his other roles in film and on stage, you may check out his website here: Richard Kinsey.
After our visit with Richard, Judith and I enjoyed a very nice dinner at a Chinese restaurant just across the street from the concert hall before trekking back into San Diego and from thence up the mountain to Pine Valley -- a little over an hour's drive. It was such a lovely, lovely afternoon with excellent music, wonderful food, and plenty of time to chat with Judith. What a delightful treat from my usually family-oriented life. I adore my family, but one does need a break once in a while, and enjoying such an arts-centered afternoon was a lovely diversion before returning home to our final four weeks of home education with four spring-fevered students and their teacher suffering from the identical malady.