If you're like me, you know next to nothing about this opera. And, if you're like me, you may be wishing the Met chose their Guillaume Tell instead of this for the Live in HD series. But with my luck, it would have been the ash-abbreviated performance that made the broadcast.
The point is they didn't, and what we have coming up on Saturday is L'amour de Loin by Kaija Saariaho. Even though I never heard of it, the opera was premiered in Salzburg in 2000, and it's been around the block a few times; and it's gotten some good notices along the way, too. There is a DVD of the Salzburg production and at least one audio recording.
The plot seems both Tristanesque and Pelleas-esq, while the music is more evocative of Debussy than Wagner—and not just because it’s sung in French—but much more 20th Century-sounding, of course. With Robert LePage directing, and the billions and billions of LED lights (but no machine this time), it promises to be an interesting afternoon.
If you heard the first Met radio broadcast of Manon Lescaut last Saturday (which was not half bad), you got to hear a preview of sorts of L'Amour de Loin—an interview with the composer, librettist, and conductor. It’s not in-depth, of course, but it provides a bit more background, and I found it helpful. If you missed this discussion (with musical excerpts), I just happen to have recorded it for you: