I have COVID. Blech. But I’m looking at it as my opportunity to finish this silly alphabet thing.
S is for Serpents, as in Taking Up Serpents, which is a one-act opera that I saw this summer. It was my favorite of all the operas I saw.
I went to three shows at the Glimmerglass Festival this summer, my first time ever going there.
First, I saw The Sound of Music, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is musical theater, not opera. It was amazing.
Next I saw their Double Bill, two one-act operas: Taking Up Serpents and Holy Ground. I’ll get back to this one.
Last I saw Carmen. Their live orchestra playing that prelude?! Amazing. I was in love — until the story started. Then I was confused, irritated, more confused, and, like, what-the-heck-is-going-on. At intermission, I asked my daughter who was working at the opera if it was supposed to be a comedy. She laughed and said, no, that it’s supposed to be a tragedy. The tragic part was how shallow and insipid the characters were. I wanted Don Josè to get a backbone and show a little moral fortitude. I wanted Escamillo to be more than a pretty boy who strutted across the stage in his bullfighter outfit. Maybe I’m not an opera person.
But maybe I am.
I saw Serpents twice. The first time I was quite taken aback but also awed. The second time, I took copious notes. The lyrics were full of imagery that drew me in — singing about moths being attracted to the light in the opening song. My scribbled notes won’t do it justice, but here’s part of what Kayla sang:
This parking lot’s a graveyard…
Same moths are drunk again on lamplight…
They know not what they do, Lord…
They keep going round and round and round…
A calling to be drawn like that to something you can never touch…
They’re longing for the light.
Kayla’s longing became a theme.
Light. Mystery. Brokenness. All were themes in a heavy opera that spoke volumes to me.
like love Serpents.
In case you’re wondering about Holy Ground, I think it was meant to be a counterpoint to Serpents. I can’t really comment much on it. The music was amazing. The costumes were amazing. The story was, hmm, I don’t know. I closed my eyes to enjoy the music and fell asleep the first time I went to the show. The second time, I didn’t even stay.
On to what I don’t like that begins with S. I don’t like being sick. See paragraph #1.
2 thoughts on “Serpents”
I had it in April. For me it was a deep, hacking cough. I was frustrated at the time because I’d been so careful for two years.
I strongly suspect that an unpleasant person at work I refer to as the Leper is the reason for it.
It is making the rounds, but this round does not seem as vicious. I’m so sorry you’ve got it at all! 🥀 Ugh.
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