Opera 5

Posted by: Rita

Opera 5 - 09/23/12 03:33 PM

I was so looking forward to this season's simulcasts, because at last Rigoletto was on the schedule! But I just learned this new production is set in Las Vegas in 1960. Arrrggghhhh!
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 09/23/12 04:20 PM

The last Rigoletto that I saw took place in the Oval Office.

(Oh, and when I went to see The Merchant of Venice last year at Stratford-upon-Avon, the opening scene was set in .... Las Vegas!, and, actually, the whole thing got darker and darker as the play went on (as it should). Patrick Stewart was great as Shylock, and there was one laugh-out-loud moment: Lorenzo and Jessica were at a masks-and-disguises party before setting off to Belmont. He was dressed as Batman and when Jessica said that she was going to be disguised as a boy, she threw off her cloak and revealed that she was Robin. A bit vulgar but funny.)
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 5 - 09/23/12 08:10 PM

So who's the Duke going to be...a casino owner?
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 09/24/12 11:15 AM

Well, only the opening scene (very noisy) was set in a Las Vegas casino. The Duke's only appearance is in Act 4 Scene 1, and he was more of an oligarch than a casino owner.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 5 - 09/25/12 10:34 AM

I meant the Duke in Rigoletto. Andrew, I hadn't seen your message when I posted.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 10/13/12 03:40 PM

During today's Elixer simulcast they showed a still from Rigotetto and it didn't look promising...what's with this urge to change the time and place in classic opera? OK, Ballo maybe because Verdi sort of had to avoid a diplomatic crisis, but otherwise...

Are they going to be singing it in English? I don't think I've ever heard Rigotetto in anything but Italian.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 10/13/12 03:45 PM

Friend and I were recalling that some years back Opera Roanoke did Elixer and set it in the hills around Floyd, VA...and it worked pretty well...but then one rural setting is pretty much like any other.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Opera 5 - 10/13/12 05:36 PM

I appreciated today's conventional staging; all round, a charming production. Netrebko was as bouncy as ever, and her singing sounded flawless to me. Nemerino is an entertaining change from "perfect" heroes, although you have to wonder why Adina would fall for such a dim bulb in the first place. Oh well, everyone was happy at the end.

Kay, what makes you think Rigoletto is being sung in English? What did I miss?
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 10/13/12 11:16 PM

Not sure where I got the impression it would be sung in English. Might have been something else they were promoting. Yes, Netrebko was marvelous...the tenor was ok, but not the best Nemorino I've ever heard. And, yes, it might just be that Adina didn't have much to pick from...the sergeant is certainly no prize!

As for why she fell for Nemorino? Well, Dulcomara's elixer is pretty potent stuff smile
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 10/14/12 01:38 AM

I liked the traditional sets and costumes too; I go to these simulcasts always hoping the setting hasn't been changed to a racecourse or a police department or an ice show or something equally ridiculous. This production satisfied. Polenzani has a lovely pianissimo, and he milked it for all it's worth -- especially in "Una furtiva lagrima". I loved it, ha. The choral and ensemble numbers seemed especially peppy; I was jiving in my seat a few times. grin
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 10/15/12 11:29 PM

I am still hummming "una furtive lagrima"...and last night caught the final scene of last season's Siegfried...that Jay Morris is something else (a really sexy looking Wagnerian tenor!)

And, Barbara, I think we are in for a few "strange" settings down the line, based on the previews...
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 10/27/12 09:17 PM

So who saw Otello?

And I am curious...those of you to the west how early do they start these performances (Mine started at 1 p.m., same as in the Opera House)
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 10/31/12 10:59 PM

Otello talk is in Opera 4, which is now closed. We'll continue here.

The operas here start at 10 a.m., which means for the longer ones, we finish at 2 p.m. or later. BYO lunch, or buy popcorn.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 11/01/12 03:46 PM

We have it better on the east coast....ours are usually at 1 p.m. (0ccasionally at noon...whenever they start at the Met)...

There was a free lunch offered by Opera Roanoke for the first production...for the others you can order a box lunch ahead (and pay for it) and I noticed the caterer had extra food for sale at intermission last Saturday. This is the advantage of being at the local college instead of in a movie theater. There is also a snack bar of sorts.

And, of course, ours finish when the Met does as well. Usually around 4 p.m. except for the longer Wagnerian works....
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 11/10/12 10:59 AM

Getting ready to head for the simulcast of The Tempest, with some trepidation after reading reviews online. Which I had thought to ask Andrew if he had seen the original production in London a few years ago...
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 11/10/12 11:52 AM

I didn't see it in London, but I did see it in Frankfurt (sung in English with German supertitles). It started well, but turned out to be a bit of a mish-mash - Shakespeare's text was extensively re-worded, to my annoyance (it's my favourite WS play), and quite a few of the characters didn't have a lot to do. Beta minus.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 11/10/12 03:39 PM

Pretty much my reaction, Andrew...at times I really hated the libretto. I agree that it is one of the Bard's best, and a few years back (probably the same trip that Liz and I joined you for dinner before Falstaff) we saw Derek Jacobi as Prospero at (I think) Royal Shakespeare...the opera was a real let down. Effective staging and well sung, but...
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 11/10/12 07:25 PM

Oh, and Ariel doesn't get to sing Where the Bee Sucks...why on earth not?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 11/12/12 12:50 AM

Yes, a song of liberation was definitely called for. Ariel pretty much stole the show anyway, with that impossibly high, jagged vocal line. I heard/watched part of that on YouTube months ago; it's what made me want to see the opera in the first place. I didn't like the libretto either, with its half-rhymes and slangy expressions.

Why is there a chorus in this opera? It adds nothing.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 11/12/12 10:30 PM

I wondered about that chorus too...it really did not do as much for me as last season's pistache of some of the same material and Midsummer Night's Dream...forget what it was called, but that Ariel made a bigger impression on me.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 12/02/12 07:00 PM

Did no one go to La Clemenza di Tito? Very few here did; the theater was two-thirds empty. We had a bad storm at the time, and the driving was scary -- but it was worth it. I didn't care for Kate Lindsey as Annio, but everything else was just grand. Sumptuous production, and Garanca was wonderful, as usual.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 12/02/12 07:29 PM

Unfortunately I had to attend a funeral Saturday afternoon, so I couldn't make it. It's an opera I am not at all familiar with, and I would have loved to have seen it. And I think the broadcasts start next week end.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 5 - 12/03/12 09:22 PM

I was traveling and had to miss it, but my wife loved it. She's an even bigger Garanca fan than I am, but she liked everything else as well.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 12/04/12 07:12 PM

The first year these simulcasts were available, they came with a polite plea for donations, pointing out that ticket sales covered less than a fourth of the Met's expenses. Then in the third or fourth year, they were saying ticket sales counted for less than a third of the opera's annual budget. Now they're saying less than half. Slowly but surely...
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 12/05/12 11:01 AM

I keep looking for a "like" button...that is good to know.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Opera 5 - 12/05/12 08:05 PM

I saw it, and I loved it too. Garanca's coloratura always sounds so effortless, I'm impressed all over again every time I hear her. The only thing I didn't care for was her costume, which was ill-fitting and unflattering...a very minor matter in a very good production.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 12/08/12 04:29 PM

As usual I found the production (Ballo) a little flaky at times, but the singers were great...I am totally in love with Dmitri Hvorostovsky...wish I could pronounce his name!
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 12/08/12 06:17 PM

I heard most of tonight's Ballo. Radvanovsky had too much fluttery vibrato for me most of the time. Alvarez was good, Hvorostovsky was good in parts, the conductor was rather brisk but calmed down eventually. Then I had to interrupt the opera to watch Part 7 of The Killing #3...
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 12/09/12 12:45 AM

This production was booed on its opening night. It's the kind of production I've been griping about for the past few years, the kind that changes the place and/or time of the story for no reason other than to give the director and designer a chance to show off. Empty minimalist sets, heavy-handed symbolism, etc. Besides, "updating" always shows a lack of confidence in the opera to succeed on its own without the addition of way-out gimmickry. That's sad.

Having said that, I now have to eat my words, because I liked this production. I liked it a lot. The scene in the first act where they're all getting ready to go off to Ulrica's den was staged like a vaudeville routine. From that unexpected bit of whimsy clear through to the choreographed reflections in the mirrored walls of the ballroom -- it was all good. The uncluttered sets, the constantly changing stage picture...I thought it was beautiful.

Now I'm going to have to contradict myself again; there was one thing that seemed to me to be a mistake. The painting of the fall of Icarus was used as a stage curtain, a ceiling, a backdrop -- it appeared in some form in almost every scene. To make sure we got the point, Oscar was wearing wings at the masked ball. Late in the opera the conspirators sing that Gustavo is going to fall from Heaven to Hell, and I guess that's all that was needed to make the Icarus connection. But Icarus fell because he soared too high (a lesson in hubris). As far as I could tell, Gustavo did no soaring at all. In fact, he was pretty much headed in the other direction all along. He was reckless, he ignored advice and warnings, he'd killed one conspirator's brother and took another conspirator's castle for himself, he actively pursued his best friend's wife. No soaring there. Gustavo is no Icarus.

Alvarez was a wonderful surprise; it seemed to me he had much more variety in his singing than the last time I heard him. (He even did some acting this time!) I thought all the singing was good, both principals and chorus. Except for Icarus, I can't fault this production and to hell with the boo-birds.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 12/09/12 12:31 PM

Glad I was not the only one who found the Icarus bit confusing...part of the flakiness I mentioned in my original post.

It was nice to note in the "previews" that next week's Aida is apparently going to be set in, of all places, ancient EGYPT. I've seen one production that was done in modern dress (with soldiers riding toy tanks in the triumphal scene).
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 5 - 12/09/12 03:32 PM

The use of Icarus...Kay calls it flaky, Barbara says it's one error in an otherwise outstanding production. It's such a great painting that I liked seeing it on display all through the opera. True, it imparts a sort of nobility to Gustavo that he doesn't deserve (the only thing he aspires to is Amelia's bed). Maybe the director didn't want the connection to be so much to Icarus but to the act of falling itself.

Incidentally, I liked this production too, and Alvarez surprised me as well. He was terrific.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 12/09/12 04:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Christopher
Maybe the director didn't want the connection to be so much to Icarus but to the act of falling itself.

Nope. In an interview, director David Alden said:
"Icarus created his own wings but flew too close to the sun and plunged to his death. It's the ultimate image of someone seeking too much pleasure, life, and power, and it somehow accompanies the king throughout the landscape of his adventures and to his death. The king is a sort of Icarus figure."
Uh-oh, Icarus did not create his own wings; his father Daedalus made them for him. But just the idea of falling -- yes, that would have been good. Probably Icarus occurred to Alden simply because the story is so well known. Whom else could he have shown falling? Ozymandias? Would the audience know about those two trunkless legs of stone in the desert? I wouldn't count on it. It's a toughie.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 12/09/12 06:11 PM

I think it was a stretch...given the history of Ballo, which for political reasons has been set in New England and Sweden and various other places...
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 12/09/12 06:13 PM

Oh, and according to the previews we are going to get Guilio Cesare updated to the 20th century...
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Opera 5 - 12/09/12 06:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Barbara
Whom else could he have shown falling? Ozymandias? Would the audience know about those two trunkless legs of stone in the desert? I wouldn't count on it.

How about Satan's fall from Heaven? Everybody knows THAT story.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 5 - 12/09/12 07:30 PM

Wouldn't work, Lorna. That would elevate Gustavo even higher than Icarus does, starting out in Heaven like that. Gustavo's no heavenly creature...he's not even a good man.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Opera 5 - 12/09/12 08:34 PM

Al Capone.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 5 - 12/09/12 10:16 PM

HA HA HA! Right. The Fall of Al Capone...that would do it.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 12/11/12 07:14 PM

Where's the like button?
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Opera 5 - 12/15/12 07:10 PM

Oh, what a good Aida! Andrew, I know Aida isn't among your favorites, but I wish you'd seen this one. Sumptuous production and three outstanding singers...very satisfying. I loved the ballet, especially the overhead shots that showed the patterns the dancers were forming (an uptown Busby Berkeley?). And it didn't hurt that Roberto Alagna is so incredibly sexy. grin
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 12/15/12 08:11 PM

Not much to add to what Lorna said....we had a pretty nearly full house, the first I've seen at any of these.

One of the things I like is the backstage shots when they are changing scenery....loved the interview with the horse, too....

Anybody know why Fleming is limping?
Posted by: Rita

Re: Opera 5 - 12/15/12 09:44 PM

Oh, how good to know I'm not the only one who finds Alagna sexy! Loved Aida...just one familiar tune after another. But Amonasro deserves the Worst-Father-of-the-Year Award. The way he plays the guilt card to manipulate his own daughter into helping him in a war HE started but couldn't win, well, you can't get much lower than that. (Well, you CAN, of course, but you know what I mean.)

I wonder if anyone has ever done one of those bare-stage productions of Aida. I don't see how it could be possible.
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 12/16/12 05:38 AM

I saw Alagna a few weeks ago in L'elisir d'amore at Covent Garden. A lot of the time he was wearing a vest and a trilby - uncannily resembling Chico Marx - but he was in good voice. I'd have thought that Radames would be a bit of a stretch for him. Lorna - I do like quite a lot of Aida but I don't go out of my way to see it.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Opera 5 - 12/16/12 08:21 AM

Early last week, I saw a PBS show about the (current?) Ring cycle at the Me,t and how it was produced. While I am sure it is an artistic tour de force, I keep thinking that it was special effects for the sake of special effects, so complex that the singers couldn't always handle thing--the Brunhilde, for instance, fell off of those great rotating things at one point, and near the end of Das Rheingold the rainbow bridge didn't work, leaving the cast to improvise their trip to Valhalla.

Considering the costs the production must have--hundreds of stagehands just to make the Rhine look watery, for instance--one can see why the Met loses money all the time.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 5 - 12/16/12 08:36 AM

We skipped this Aida, but I have just got to ask. Why do women consider Alagna sexy? I don't get it.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 12/16/12 11:39 AM

That's hard to pin down. He's not getting any younger, and he's certainly not a handsome man. But he has presence, plus a poise in the way he carries himself that is attractive. Frankly, I doubt that I'd find Alagna sexy if it weren't for the singing. It's the total package that's so appealing. Don't worry about it, Chris, it's purely a he/she thing; I've never understood why men thought Uma Thurman was a hottie. And I agree with Lorna -- this Aida was very satisfying.

Pete, I hope that PBS program will be repeated; I didn't even know it was on. Did they refer to the set as "the machine"? Large brown planks that could be moved and manipulated? If so, that's the current Ring. Yes, very expensive, but remember that one set was used for four operas, not just one. I remember that one of the simulcasts -- I'm pretty sure it was Siegfried -- was delayed 45 minutes because one of the planks wasn't receiving its computer signals.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 12/16/12 10:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Rita

I wonder if anyone has ever done one of those bare-stage productions of Aida. I don't see how it could be possible.


Opera Roanoke did a "concert" version a few years back, because you just can't stange Aida in a small auditorium...and about 10 years ago in Salzberg (yes, Mozart's Salzberg) I saw the weirdest production ever...semi modern dress with the triumphal march made up of guys in khaki uniforms peddling toy tanks around the stage. There were a lot of other little "modern" touches...Radames made his first act entrance dribbling a basketball...the local European audience applauded the singers and the booed the director...
Posted by: Rita

Re: Opera 5 - 12/17/12 11:31 AM

Yes, you mentioned those toy tanks before, and that is something I don't even want to think about. Ugh.

About Alagna...he's handsome from the neck down. His hair is a mess and his facial features are nothing special, but he has a good body. And yes, the singing is an essential part of the total picture. He may not quite have alpha-male status, but he's a very strong beta-plus.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 12/22/12 03:51 PM

This is the first Saturday this month with no simulcast. I feel deprived.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Opera 5 - 12/24/12 05:50 PM

It was the Walküre simulcast that was delayed so long because of computer signals. I was in the theater for that one, waiting for it to start.

In years past, it took me a long time to come around to Aida. I mean, I could hear the appeal of the big moments, but it didn't add up as a whole for me. What helped me was thinking of it as Verdi's "condensation" of the grand-opera genre -- the big voices set in conflicting relationships, the ballet, the spectacle and atmosphere -- but reduced to its essence, with little of the private lives of the characters. I could imagine a production stylized in a "monumental" way, with the characters' personal drama playing out against a hostile, uncaring environment.

A couple of rarities are coming up soon: Berlioz's huge grand opera Les Troyens, the fall of Troy followed by the Dido & Aeneas story, with Susan Graham as Dido. And Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, in its first Met production (yet to premiere), with Joyce DiDonato as Mary Queen of Scots.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 12/25/12 06:53 PM

I already have my ticket for Les Troyens; it's unlikely I'll ever have another chance to see it. I didn't care much for Anna Bolena, but Joyce DiDonato is enough reason to go to Maria Stuarda. Since the opera is based on Schiller's play, it should have a confrontation scene between Mary and Elizabeth (who never met in real life).
Posted by: Jon

Re: Opera 5 - 12/25/12 11:53 PM

Of course! I mean, how can you write a play or libretto about those two queens without writing a scene for the two of them? Liberties are taken in historical fiction for much less essential things.
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 01/01/13 12:03 PM

I've seen Maria Stuarda at least four times - way back at the 1969 Edinburgh Festival with Leyla Gencer (aargh!) as Maria and Shirley Verrett (hurray!) as Elisabetta. Then in the early 70s at the Coliseum (in English, of course) wth Janet Baker as Mary and Pauline Tinsley as Elisabeth (conducted by Charles Mackerras), and the same production in Bradford with Tinsley again and Sarah ("I'm tone-deaf") Walker. Long gap, when I could have seen it at Buxton in the '90s, and most recently performed by Opera North in 2010 with Sarah Connolly as Maria (back to Italian) and Antonia Cifrone as a whipcracking Elisabetta.

I don't know why the Met has never done it before - maybe the Beverley Sills effect?

Anyway, on the subject of the confrontation of the queens, here it goes in English (translator: Tom Hammond):

Mary: You'd insult me, foul-mouthed usurper?
All: What presumption! Lady, be careful!
Elisabeth: Silence! Silence!
Mary: Ah no! Shameless daughter of a harlot!
Talbot (aside): Heaven help her!
Mary: How dare you speak of dishonour?
You licentious, painted creature,
How I blush for your behaviour!
You've dishonoured the throne of England,
Royal bastard, all these years!

Incidentally, George Talbot, the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, sometimes reveals himself to Mary as a Roman Catholic priest at the end of the opera (enraging the Italian censors in the 1830s). Apparently this was Bardari (the librettist)'s invention, in which Talbot and young Mortimer in Schiller's play were conflated, so that's another difference from the real historical events. Talbot, of course, was a real person and was Mary's principal keeper (she was moved around England quite a bit) in between her capture and execution.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 01/01/13 12:37 PM

And my recollection (perhaps this has already been mentioned) is that Elizabeth and Mary never actually met face to face...
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 01/01/13 01:05 PM

Yup, see Barbara's and Jonn's comments above my posting.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 01/03/13 03:10 PM

"You licentious, painted creature" -- Mary wasn't noted for making intelligent decisions, but even she would know better than to speak to the queen of England like that. Of course, in Italian it probably sounds like plain everyday speech.
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 01/03/13 03:37 PM

From the Italian:

Figlia impura di Bolena
Profonato č il soglio inglese,
Vil bastarda, dal tuo pič!

"Impure daughter of [Anne] Boleyn
The English throne is profaned,
Vile bastard, by your foot!"

(Sounds as if Elisabeth has been standing on the throne!)
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 01/04/13 11:05 AM

Well, the censors of the time probably wouldn't permit culo instead of pič.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Opera 5 - 01/04/13 04:08 PM

HA! Is there anyone here who doesn't know what culo means without looking it up?
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 01/05/13 10:19 AM

Are we in the region of "O quel cul t'as!" ?
Posted by: Rita

Re: Opera 5 - 01/06/13 09:35 AM

Looks like. Right next to Oh, Bombay!
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Opera 5 - 01/06/13 05:21 PM

Forget the naughties for a minute...Barbara, earlier you said you already had your ticket for Les Troyens. Did you like it? I did. Since Jon doesn't come around much any more, maybe I can get away with saying this: Five and a half hours of Berlioz goes a lot faster than five and a half hours of Wagner. (Sacrilege, I know.)

The corps de ballet got a big workout. I don't think I've ever seen that much dancing in an opera before. Unfortunately, the dancers were underrehearsed and they weren't always in sync. But the choreography itself was fantastic (done by Doug Varone), especially the patterns formed by intricate arm movements even when the dancers weren't quite together. I enjoyed it in spite of the misses.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 01/06/13 07:47 PM

I had a meeting in the morning that would have put me rather late getting there, so I decided to skip it...did you like it, Lorna? (And anybody else who got there?)
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 01/07/13 01:34 AM

Lorna already said she liked it, and so did I. There was a time when the Met Opera orchestra was one of the weakest around, but now it's ranked as one of the best. About the same thing happened with the Met chorus. Maybe now they'll get around to working on the dancers. I agree the choreography was outstanding, best I've ever seen in an opera.

I do like Susan Graham's voice, so rich and resonant; she was a wonderful Dido. The longest role in Les Troyens is Aeneas, the Met debut role for Bryan Hymel. He never faltered once that I could tell; I thought he was excellent. I'm glad I got to see this opera.

Only one regret. That marvelous Trojan horse -- I wish it had been onstage longer.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 01/07/13 01:13 PM

Now I'm sorry I didn't split for the meeting early!
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Opera 5 - 01/07/13 04:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Barbara
Only one regret. That marvelous Trojan horse -- I wish it had been onstage longer.

Yes! They used that horse in all their promotional material, but it was onstage only about a minute. A few minutes later there was a magnified projection of the horse on the backdrop, but that lasted even less time. The horse should have been there from the first mention of it.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Opera 5 - 01/08/13 07:02 AM

I was at Les Troyens, the first HD I've been to in a while. It's an impressive experience, and one can see why it's a rarely undertaken one: it asks a lot of everybody onstage.

It is indeed gratifying to see how superb the chorus has become under Donald Palumbo's direction; it's quite right that he took a bow with them at the end.

At times during the Fall of Troy scenes I had a hankering for the now-discredited practice of doing the opera over two nights, because I found Deborah Voigt (who has been glorious on occasion in the past) unable to bring Cassandra to life at this time. Berlioz's vocal music depends so much on the singer shaping and sculpting it, and all she could do was sock it out in a basic way, audible but uninteresting. And the character dominates those first scenes.

But all the rest was a great pleasure. Susan Graham has the majesty and richness for Dido, and Bryan Hymel proved stunningly in command of Aeneas -- a rare circumstance with this preposterously demanding role. Bravo!
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 01/08/13 11:06 AM

Nice to see the plaudits for Bryan Hymel on his Met debut at rather short notice. I've seen him four times - the Prince in Rusalka twice, first near Wexford (on a makeshift set in a big tent with uncomfortable seating while the Opera House was being rebuilt), later at Covent Garden. Also at CG, he was Aeneas in David McVicar's Troyens, and more recently in Meyerbeer's rather fusty Robert le diable (replacing Jonas Kaufmann). All pretty strenuous roles, but he just sailed through all of them. The nearest comparator that I can think of is Robert Dean Smith.

Somewhere recently someone stated that Hymel's surname is pronounced "Eemel" Was that how it sounded at the Met HD event?
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Opera 5 - 01/08/13 06:50 PM

Oh dear. I don't remember.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 01/08/13 10:04 PM

Nor do I. Jon?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Opera 5 - 01/12/13 01:45 PM

An extra-thumping sort of Trovatore today. Is it my imagination, or is there a lot of straining after high notes going on?
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Opera 5 - 01/12/13 04:53 PM

I only heard the first two acts (I had to have dinner and then watched episode 3 of Series 2 of Borgen). The tenor (Marco Berti) didn't sound very satisfactory, but nor did the di Luna.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 01/13/13 02:48 PM

Ok, so I am not sorry I missed it. Trovatore is not real high on my list of Verdi favorites anyway...although it was the first opera I ever saw performed (I was 11 and it was a really bad touring company, which may have affected my perception).
Posted by: Jon

Re: Opera 5 - 01/13/13 07:29 PM

I missed this Trovatore, but from all I've heard it was indeed an unmemorable occasion, all in all.

"ee-mel" is how they said Bryan Hymel's name on the intermission feature, and that's what I've been hearing in general. He's from Louisiana and referred to his "Cajun roots" when jokingly explaining his affinity for French music.
Posted by: Kay

Re: Opera 5 - 01/19/13 04:04 PM

Upstairs to Opera 6...Jon please lock this one