Frank Elliott | Hendersonville, NC United States | 09/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had difficulty watching this one - especially after watching Julia Migenes'
delightful and astounding "Diva on the Verge" DVD = another of her solo performances. One could think of these two performances as the two sides of a coin. There is the gay, frivolous, fun aspect of life; and then there is the not fun at all aspect of life. I have to give this 5 stars on the strength of Julia's enormous, stupendous talent. Without her, it is hard to imagine this performance having any chance at all of success. For Julia, aside from her glorious soprano voice, has to be the best actress in the opera realm. I upload some images to the gallery for your contemplation, which gives a hint of the range of emotion she can produce- which does not seem like 'acting' at all. Possibly the reason for this is the simple fact that Julia was reared in a Puerto Rican Barrio on the lower east side of new York replete with profoundly dysfunctional family. she brings to any stage a certain 'realness'/verisimo based upon real life experiences and tragedies. She is definitely not from a privileged elite, pampered all the way to the top, Diva. She made it there on the strength of her talent alone.
Now about the 'libretto". This is a work involving the renown author Jean Cocteau. He WAS born into affluence. Unfortunately, his father committed suicide when Jean was a mere lad of nine years. Later, if memory serves me, he drove an ambulance on the front lines in Belgium in World War I. Later, he struggles with an opium addiction. Here is an author who has had the life experiences necessary to create masterful, however disturbing, literary works.
How could he write anything other than about the tremendous difficulties and challenges of the world in which we all coexist ? In this story, sung entirely alone by Julia on the phone with her paramour who is away almost all of the time, leaving Julia rather alone -and struggling with her own very serious psychological problems - not the least of which is a moribund leaning to despondency and suicide. Is this not Jean Cocteau's exploration of his father's suicide, and his own struggles with that horrible circumstance ? This is something every person must consider if or when one considers suicide. The effect on the loved ones left behind is a cruel and devastating blow to them, from which they never recover !
No this isn't 'fluff'. it is, however a work worthy of serious consideration.
It IS a lasting evidence of Julia Migenes' extraordinary skills and talents as an opera star. If you prefer something more uplifting, then I recommend her "Diva on the Verge"...which is in a sense, an antithetical answer to this "Diva on the Verge of Complete Emotional Collapse".