Bronze statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, at the Plaza de España in Madrid (Source: Wikipedia)
New Date and Time: Friday, February 25, 2 p.m.
Location: Mercer Island Library, 4400 88th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, Washington
The “Don Quixote” opera preview to be presented by Norm Hollingshead, originally scheduled for tonight, has been postponed due to bad weather. It is now scheduled for Friday, February 25, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.
Get ready for the Seattle Opera‘s upcoming performances of “Don Quixote” with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Jules Massenet‘s work by joining Mr. Hollingshead.
Massenet (1842-1912) had a one act opera performed in 1867 when he was only 25 years old but it was the blockbuster success of his “Manon” in 1884 that made him a famous name in opera-loving households. Further melodious hits in the 1890s, such as “Werther” and “Thais,” cemented his reputation as one of the most successful opera composers of his time. The turn to the new century, though, saw a decline in his popularity as opera audiences came to find Massenet “old-fashioned,” preferring instead the new sounds of Claude Debussy and Richard Strauss or the more realistic dramas of Giacomo Puccini. Massenet kept composing however and in 1910, had his last big “hit,” “Don Quichotte” which utilized only a few scenes from Miguel de Cervantes‘ famous novel but those are brought charmingly to life by Massenet’s wonderfully “Frenchified” Spansh Music. Don Quichotte was originally composed as a vehicle for the greatest singing actor of his time, the fabled Russian basso, Feodor Chaliapin. Don Quichotte was a great success whenever Chaliapin performed it and, since Chaliapin’s retirement in the 1930′s, the opera has been performed successfully whenever a dynamic basso has assumed the title role. Mr. Hollingshead will illustrate his commentary on Don Quichotte with recorded musical excerpts from his own collection, many quite rare.
This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Mercer Island Library.