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PostOpera in Kansas City (Miles Seeley, USA, 11/13/10 5:30 am)
I enjoyed Gilbert Doctorow's posting on the Metropolitan Opera (11 November). I am an opera lover, although for many years I had no opportunity to go. Now, in Kansas City (of all places!) the opera, along with the symphony and the ballet, is flourishing. Last night we heard a fine presentation of Bellini's "Norma," which I had only heard on CDs previously. For several years we went twice a season to Chicago to enjoy that fine company, but I have never been to the Met.
Kansas City is building a $324 million arts complex, The Kaufman Center, which will open next year. It will be magnificent, and all our companies will move in for the 2011 season. It amazes me, as one who has lived in quite a few countries, that support for the arts is so strong here in the Midwest. The symphony is directed by Michael Stern (Isaac Stern's son), and it is already playing on a world-class level. The ballet is expanding and attracting fine dancers from all over. But the Opera is the biggest surprise, to me, since it languished for decades.
Some day I'll make it to the Met, but meanwhile, what we heard and saw last night equaled anything we saw in Chicago (or that I saw long ago in San Francisco).
JE comments: Bellini's Norma is an operatic tour de force. I recall listening to it with my father in the old days, when music came on vinyl and you played it on a "hi fi." Did Bellini write any other operas that made the "Greatest Hits" list? I don't think so.
But of course Kansas City should have a world-class arts facility; what is it they say about everything there being up to date?