Those of you who know, help my wife and me pick a few Met in HD from next year's menu:
Anna Bolena (I think we're in Yosemite during this)
Siegfried (not sure I'm ready to sit long enough for Wagner yet)
The Enchanted Island (a pastiche of baroque vocal music squeezed into a plot involving Shakespeare's Tempest and the pairs of lovers from A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Gotterdammerung (see above)
I like the Don Juan and the Faust, and the Adams one intrigues me.
Made it to Intermission with Don Giovanni. My wife and I both really enjoyed it, but we've been fighting the re-fi wars this week and both of us were relaxedly slipping in and out of dreamland. Next week is Siegfried, starts at 6 and finishes at midnight, and I'm not prepared to do that yet. Week after that is Adams, which I intend to see.
Rita and I saw The Enchanted Island last night, once again bailed at intermission. Gorgeous looking production. Wonderful performers. And a little disatisfying in a number of ways.
I had joked with my Shakespeare group about the 'horror' of having a countertenor sing Prospero, but in fact it did prove to be a problem for me. Having a Prospero sing in a higher pitch than the women in the cast around him seems incredibly counter-intuitive. I know countertenors were often cast as leads in baroque opera (of course, they were castrati in those days), but I never stopped wanting to hear a rich baritone from Prospero. It wasn't until the final aria before intermission that I could really appreciate David Daniels' voice, and that was an aria of Prospero expressing his vulnerability ('I meant well, but everything is completely screwed up now!' = rough rephrasing) rather than his power.
Couldn't take my eyes off Danielle DeNiese as Ariel when she was on stage – foxy lady, beautiful voice, dynamite costume, and she moves like a dancer.
Baroque is so much more constrained than classical or romantic music that the big over-the-top operatic moments never quite get there. Lots of musical ornamentation, some of that over-the-top. But I felt there was a gear missing – probably just a personal taste, but I'm not sure I'll every really warm up to baroque opera, much as I love the music as music.
The story was nuts. Ariel does a Puckish mixup of the lovers, this time involving Miranda and Caliban with the lovers from The Dream, and Sycorax is now the jilted lover of Prospero, condemned to live on the dark side of the island.
Last edited by Squaredancecalling Steve; January-26th-2012 at 04:09 PM.
So I saw my first Utah Opera on Wednesday, I am so glad that they even have one, but at the same time I was kind of frustrated and disappointed. I miss The Met so much, you can't even imagine. That is my church, and I am living without my church.
Actually, they have chosen not to publish my comment so here it is:
I think Jeremy Galyan deserves better mention, even if it were only for his terrific voice. I do think he had quite a bit more charisma than is mentioned here. (Do not know him, this is my first Utah Opera.) The Capitol Theatre is not an acoustic fit for opera; either that, or the vocalists were not always able to project their voices. Occasionally, it was a range issue where the volume dropped out on the lower range. Also when Papagano is singing at the back of the stage, that sacrificed musical integrity for staging. I will go back to Utah Opera again and again - if only to support opera here - but I don't think Capitol Theatre has the appropriate acoustics to truly give people the full experience operatic experience, where you are focused to a pinpoint and overcome with emotion. The orchestra was fantastic I recognized later on - very precise - and has proper acoustic set up, although I was similarly upset at the very beginning by low volume - where I could hear the audience settling down more than the beginning of the overture - I was in the front orchestra - and Tamino's voice was just not projecting at all. He seemed to get better later on and I agree that he performed in the second act with a convincing lyrical beauty.
So the opera got off to a rough start for me on Wednesday, but overall, I found much to applaud, including the wonderful set design. I did enjoy very much and appreciated the talented performers onstage, all of them, even if, like I said I was frustrated by what I think was an acoustical issue in the Capitol Theatre (which is ornate and beautiful, but that ornateness I think is what is absorbing the sound). It's terrific for the ballet. The Queen of the Night attendants were fantastic and charming openers with lovely voices. Extremely capable performances. The choirboy spirits performed possibly my favorite music of the evening. This is the first time I've heard The Magic Flute and it is their pieces I will be seeking on recording. Pamina was very strong, with an absolutely gorgeous voice, performing her arias with ease. I did not fully appreciate the Queen of the Night's famous coloratura, BUT, on the other hand, that she totally got through it ably, such a difficult piece, without faltering, does earn a gold star. I have seen Norma at The Met with an understudy who could not go there all the way, so I have to give The Queen of the Night serious kudos for what she did on Wednesday. It was a successful performance. And one of my companions is still talking about it!
Anyway, like I said, my first Utah Opera, and I look forward to more.