#40 La Clemenza Di Tito

If you ride the Amtrak enough it’s easy to appreciate the chorus of complaints it receives. The conductors on the other hand are the best.

Wearing a tall dark navy uniform todays conductor jokes with a young boy a few seats up from me that if he didn’t have a ticket he would have to walk the rest of the way to Trenton. “And, that’s a long way to walk,” he adds. He’s clearly joking in tone and they have tickets. The conductor takes the boy’s ticket and asks,“Do you use books or computers in school?” The boy replies ‘Books.’ The conductor takes a long thin receipt, clicks holes into it, and hands it the boy, “This is for you to use as a bookmark. When you finish a page you can put this inside to keep your place.” The specifics here almost don’t matter, but just the fact that he is going out of his way to make connections with the commuters makes the car feel more friendly.

At the opera tonight I’m close enough to see conductor Lothar Koenig mouth along passionately with the chorus. They mirror him with everything they have. The energy is an express train straight thru the audience.

Even though the Amtrak and music conductors are two very different type of conductors, in a way, they are both doing the same thing. Both are so totally in the moment with their audience, that their spirit and human connection sends ripples of warmth effecting everyone in the space they manage.

The opera is chorus-tastic and I have become such a big fan of Joyce DiDonato in the roles I’ve seen her perform. I gambled for these incredible seats. Going on line for rush tickets this morning the first tickets I get are in the double letters, under the balcony sucks, so I let the tickets go and tried for some new ones. Not being a well known opera it was worth the risk and I get a very central orchestra seat in row L.

The Met’s chorus is consistently amazing and when picking up tickets today one of them was in the lobby. In complete adoration I told him as much and he took the compliment graciously. Like the conductors these musicians always seem to be great ambassadors of their craft. He also took some time to talk to a tour group walking through.

Joyce DiDonato is at her best tonight in this trouser role. It’s an interesting opera from Mozart because he wrote it toward the end of his life in his late period, but was commissioned to write it in an earlier style. Despite the recitative and older structure, Mozart’s flourishes sneak through like sun shafts in a drafty house.

At dinner I look at the cooks and waiters and at ourselves and think that we all have the opportunity to be conductors. We just have to choose to pick up the baton.

So what is La Clemeza Di Tito all about? begins witht the newly elected emperor Tito who the people love for his progressive social policies. He is also looking for a wife and when he doesn’t choose Vitellia at first, she prompts her admirer Sesto to attempt to assassinate the new emporer. Sesto burns down the palace, but Tito survives. When the conspirators confess, walking the talk, Tito forgives everyone and the chorus delight.

Listen for:

Clarinet and Basset Horn

Chorus

Parto, ma tu ben mio

Se all impero, amici dei

Notes on the production

Composer……………………………… Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Sesto……………………………………..…Joyce DiDonato

Emporer Tito………………………….. Matthew Polenzani

Annio……………………………………..…Emily D’Angelo

Vitellia…………………………………..….. Elza van den Heever

Servilia………………………………….…. Ying Fang

Publio………………………………………. Christian Van Horn

Conductor……………………………….. Lothar Koenigs

Metropolitan Opera

4/6/19