Friday, February 24, 2017

Ready for Rusalka

I am prepping for tomorrow’s Live in HD presentation of Dvorak’s Rusalka. I know the story; I know the Song to the Moon; I know the title water nymph is a signature role for both Renee Fleming and Kristine Opolais; and that’s about all I know. This week, I listened to the official Met Podcast (rather yawn-ful) and the new He Sang, She Sang podcast from WQXR—both available at their respective websites or wherever you prefer to download your podcasts. (I need to write more about He Sang, She Sang—a delightful new and somewhat irreverent effort that helps us understand opera without taking it too seriously and being boring—they also give us some nifty singer interviews (e.g., Luca Pisaroni, Diana Damrau, Kristine Opolais)).

Then, I looked to YouTube to find a full performance. The Schenk/Met performance with RF is there, along with the Czech film (probably worth a later look) and the Carsen Paris production. I started with the Met, but the combination of the awkward set (I kept waiting for someone (or creature) to stumble and fall into the pond) and RF’s rather odd acting choices put me off quite early. I love RF; but honestly, I never would rank her among the world’s top acting singers. So, I decided to head for Paris, also with RF but in a much more interesting production.

I had to laugh at one negative Amazon reviewer (of many nay-sayers) who preferred to see a  “realistic” production. How does one do “realistic” witches, water nymphs, and goblins? I think it’s a bit pedantic and disingenuous* to insist on a “realistic” setting for an opera that is a fantasy based on a fairy tale. Contrary to what some might say, most (if not all) fairy tales are allegories. I love an applause-worthy set as much as anyone, but all the glitz and glam and fancy “realistic” and/or traditional sets can’t make up for a dull performance.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Met in HD and Dinner Chat

Holy Moly! Was my last post really in December? Well a few things have happened since then, so I really do need to catch up. 

1. I was really drawn in by L'amour de Loin. I do have a few things to say about it, so I will try to get together and post about that soon.

2.  Nabucco was boring as unbuttered toast from a staging standpoint. But rather well sung. I enjoyed it in spite of myself. And in spite of the obligatory encore [insert eye roll] of the famous chorus. It's pretty but…ditto about posting.

3. I am now a superfan of Diana Damrau, Vittorio Grigolo, and Gounod's Romeo et Juliette...and Elliot Madore. Ahem. (Spoiler alert: they all die.) This is one I will probably have to spring for if/when it appears on DVD.  It's the same production seen in Salzburg a few years ago (the unit set is not as convincing to me in the Feldreisenschule as on the Met stage.) I will try to get around to saying more on that soon, too.  

Meanwhile, tonight at dinner...

My cousin: We saw a Met Eugene Onegin, but I'm not sure who was in it. 
Me: Were there a lot of leaves?
My cousin's wife: Yes!! I remember the leaves!
I guess most of us (whether fans of Robert Carsen (or not)) could name the leads in that performance!

P S. I hope this iPhone-created post looks ok. I tried to add a photo. Safari and Google simply do not play well together! I just didn't want to wait till I get home to put this up. My "fans" (?) already have waited too long to hear from me. 
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