It’s just another manic Monday – or perhaps it doesn’t have to be that way if you spend the evening at Botanical Gardens watching a beautiful masterpiece Opera- crafted by Daniel Catan titled La Hija de Rappaccini (Rappaccini’s Daughter). The first round of applause is directed to Gotham Chamber Opera for selecting the beautiful NY landmark as the site of for this performance. This is such a great place often forsaken – perhaps due to it’s location in Brooklyn or other reasons; rest assured it was a great choice.
The sun blazes in the late afternoon descending down into the horizon, as masses of patrons arrive with picnic baskets, blankets, chairs and good energy and nestle in on the fresh and well manicured lawn.
The conductor cues the music and it’s showtime!
In the distance, the cast dressed in colorful outfits and electric headpieces make their way towards the chairs on the side. Giovanni a young student from Naples arrives and as the days accumulate during his visit, he finds himself madly falling in love with Beatriz- the botanist and doctor’s daughter.
Rappaccini, the doctor and father to Beatriz has secluded his daughter from the world and keeps her protected and hidden in the poisonous plants in which she becomes immune to the plants and flowers. Giovanni, aside from fair warnings from his landlady, Isabella and Baglioni – a former classmate of Giovanni’s father remains intrigued to meet Beatriz.
Beatriz on the other hand is a mysterious woman whom men have tried in the past to court but never succeeded and as with anything true to human nature, what resists us, persists us to chase to the challenge.
The two potential lovers finally meet after Isabella directs Giovanni on a secret entrance into the garden. Even though, she also plays as a instigator to entice and possibly re-direct Giovanni away from Beatriz by offering him women to satisfy his unsettled desire, he yearns for Beatriz.
Once they meet and the seduction blooms, she is caught between a tug of war between staying in the garden or running away with Giovanni to manifest a whole new reality with him in Naples.
Baglioni warns Giovanni that Beatriz is similar to a woman who was sent to seduce Alexander the Great but never succeeded. Giovanni, blinded by love ignores the fact and finds an antidote to give to Beatriz to rid her of the internal poison, but instead proves to be fatal.
She falls to her demise by the tree- her only friend while clinging on to the last words of betrayal uttered by Giovanni. This is an amazing experience highlighting the circumstances of life, love and death and it was truly enjoyable; and I can only wait for more.
By: Laura M. Artis.