Well, I liked it, with reservations. I think I liked the singing more than the music. There were high spots -- the drinking song, the first interlude, etc. -- but all separated by long stretches of forgettable music. Rather like Gounod in that respect. But my primary reservation -- well, blame Shakespeare.

It's difficult to keep the play out of your head while watching the opera, and I wasn't entirely successful. I know everything in the play can't be included; there have to be drastic cuts. So it comes down to a question of choices made of what to cut and what to keep, and I can't help but think the librettist missed the boat in so many places. One example of a bad choice, and then I'll quit. The opera is more than half over when a new character walks out onto the stage for no discernible reason, and he finds Claudius worrying that he will be found out. The new character sings one line, advising Claudius to hold fast. Then he leaves. An eavesdropping Hamlet thoughtfully informs the audience that that was Polonius, Ophélie's father. And that one line is the only line Polonius sings in the entire opera. Better just to cut the character entirely.

It was a brown production. An almost bare stage, a few movable brown walls. Brown costumes for the most part. I was disappointed at not getting to hear Natalie Dessay (no, Marlis Petersen is not just as good), but Simon Keenlyside is a marvel; he alone is reason enough to go to this opera. I left the theater satisfied and glad I went, but I also understand why this Hamlet was last performed at the Met 118 years ago.