I just returned from a few days in the Berkshires with my family. The main reason for the trip was the opportunity to see the BEMF performance of "Niobe, regina di Tebe", but additional cultural experiences ensued. A visit to my husband's favorite museum, the Norman Rockwell Museum, is always a must while in the Berkshires. To mix things up a bit, we also scheduled visits to The Mount, Edith Wharton's fabulous estate, and Mass MoCA.
(A big "thank you" to my lovely daughter for the photos!)
Niobe was my first opera experience and an impressive one at that. The opera was presented in three acts and even with cuts by both the composer Agostino Steffani and the BEMF, lasted nearly four hours. My post-opera experience has gotten me thinking about the possibilities of using opera and other musical genres to teach humanities. Niobe is based on a story from Ovid's Metamorphoses. The story is one of love, power and tragic endings (mocking the gods is NOT a good idea). I am not sure if most adolescents could sit through a four hour opera in Italian, but the power of music to introduce a classic story or history lesson certainly has appeal. My first introduction to both Carmen and Hamlet was of the musical variety -- who can forget the Giligan's Island musical Hamlet? It may have been silly, but both the music and story were stuck in my mind for years after seeing the show as a kid.
No recording is currently available, but here is a little taste "Niobe, regina di Tebes":