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emason
11-30-2011, 04:54 PM
emason, I saw Don G in HD and didn't mind the production as extreme close-ups carefully hid the background for the most part. Loved Luca Pisaroni as Leporello.

I, too, loved Pisaroni and thought he should have gotten double pay for having the scenery move and CLANK very loudly during the Catalogue Aria. Pisaroni was the highlight of the performance for me.

Last week I saw Rodelinda (I never met a Baroque opera I didn't like) and I talked it up so much to a friend of mine that we are going to the HD telecast on Saturday. This is my first HD broadcast so I'm looking forward to the experience and to getting a closer look at the costumes. I don't use opera glasses and one can't really see the costume detail from the balcony of the Met.

kwanfan1818
11-30-2011, 05:17 PM
One thing that's very different is that because they mike the singers so close to the stage, the singers who sounded smaller and/or covered in the house will sound the same as the singers with bigger voices. (Well, except Hans-Peter Konig who booms larger than most in the HD's, too.) It might be an initial jolt when you hear the HD balance, especially if you've seen them live.

I saw "Rodelinda" in Dallas before they built the Winspear Opera House, and the acoustics where like waves: as a singer went laterally across the stage, the volume changed radically. I'm looking forward to seeing this again at one of the encore showings.

emason
11-30-2011, 05:53 PM
One thing that's very different is that because they mike the singers so close to the stage, the singers who sounded smaller and/or covered in the house will sound the same as the singers with bigger voices. (Well, except Hans-Peter Konig who booms larger than most in the HD's, too.) It might be an initial jolt when you hear the HD balance, especially if you've seen them live.

I saw "Rodelinda" in Dallas before they built the Winspear Opera House, and the acoustics where like waves: as a singer went laterally across the stage, the volume changed radically. I'm looking forward to seeing this again at one of the encore showings.


Andreas Scholl sings beautifully but has a small voice; I expect him to sound very differently for the HD broadcast. Thanks for the warning.

emason
12-04-2011, 12:59 AM
OK, who besides me went to Rodelinda today? More importantly, what did you think?

SaSherka
12-05-2011, 01:58 PM
Have to catch the encore HD broadcast of Rodelinda as I saw the new Faust Sat eve. Pape is a true devil & he stole the night! Poplavskaya was very good, but Kaufmann was a tad underwhelming. Poplavskaya was in good spirit afterwards, cheering on fellow cast members as we were leaving past the stage door.
Have to miss Faust live HD due to going to GPF, but will watch the encore. I expect Valentin and Wagner to sound better than in house.

SaSherka
12-05-2011, 02:14 PM
Opera lovers: Do you know what really happens in rehearsals?
Susan Graham shows you what happens if you put composer Jake Heggie, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (and her dog) and tributee Frederica "Flicka" von Stade in the same room just as Joyce DiDonato is firing off Cinderella's coloratura:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVUSk58r7FY

You're welcome.

emason
12-05-2011, 06:02 PM
That was seriously funny; thanks for posting.

kwanfan1818
01-10-2012, 07:07 AM
Thank you so much for posting that!!! (Joyce Di Donato is the very top of my girl crush list.)

I just came back from an Encore broadcast of the Met HD "Don Giovanni", and it was all kinds of wonderful. Of course the vocal balance of a recorded performance is rarely replicated in the house, and the sound is generally much richer bouncing off the ceiling in the Family Circle, but all of the singers sounded wonderful in the HD.

Michael Grandige's direction was so specific, and during arias where other characters were onstage, he gave measured responses that made sense of the text and relieved the singers of the typical escalate-that-angsty-expression-for-the-next-five-minutes-while-I-yell-in-your-face/at-your-back stage time.

My favorite :confused: moment of the interview -- apart from every moment Renee Fleming is speaking -- was when gracious, elegant maestro Fabio Luisi said that he admired Mariusz Kwiecien because he was always vocally elegant (true) and elegant as a actor (not sure he saw any of the opening or the Supper-to-Hell scenes).

It was pretty amazing that Kwiecien was able to do the role two weeks after back surgery, especially the scene where the Commendatore grabs his hand and won't let go until DG's dragged to Hell. Those who had never seen him before might have thought he moved really well and wouldn't have noticed that he was a bit physically guarded: he usually moves like a panther.

My favorite Politically Correct moment was when Barbara Frittoli answered why she chose to sing Donna Elvira over Donna Anna -- of course they both have great music, blah, blah -- was because she has so much acting time, and it's hard to play someone in mourning all the time.

The real answer is that Donna Elvira gets :grope: by :swoon: Mariusz Kwiecien and :swoon: Luca Pisaroni, while Donna Anna only gets to torture Don Ottavio, the only person onstage who gets none of any kind, by telling him not to touch her. Lorenzo Da Ponte was an eville genius: in the last scene, after Donna Anna tells him once again to wait (until her heart heals) -- the woman next to me remarked to her friend, "His timing is awful" -- he sings something like "True love is doing what the beloved wants", and she repeats it back to him. Not because she's willing to do what he wants, but because she is the beloved, and he is not, and the conversation is, in essence, He: "I love you." She: "You love me."

emason
01-10-2012, 02:30 PM
Joyce Di Donato is my second fave mezzo of the moment (after the incomparable Stephanie Blythe) and I'm hearing her Thursday night in The Enchanted Island. I shall report.

It sounds like the HD version was better than what I saw/heard in the house. The night I went Frittoli was absolutely awful; she sounded like a cat in heat the entire night. The set is ghastly, looking like a Neopolitan slum, not a nice neighborhood in Seville. Plus side - Luca Pisaroni. He was the hit of the night for me.

kwanfan1818
01-10-2012, 05:14 PM
Blythe is a goddess. Seattle is very lucky that Speight Jenkins brought her in early, and that she seems happy to return. She did one of the most :lol: interviews during one of the all-day symposiums on "The Ring".

I was wondering on the way out whether the sets might look bad in the house, another of the stark vertical sets the Met has been bringing in. So many buildings in Seville are light, at least now, but I've never seen a light production of "Don Giovanni". (Hard to say what they looked like in the 17th century with dirt roads and horses.) I saw one on a revolving turntable in Estonia, where they ended the opera after DG was dragged to Hell that allowed the company to switch scenes without pause, which the Met sets also accomplished, aided by conductor/harpsichordist Luisi's decision not to pause between recitative and set pieces.

I've also been amazed at the differences in sound over Sirius vs. the HD's -- I would think the miking would be similar -- and I think that's partially because of how much of the total experience is visual. It was a pretty cast and the costumes were wonderful, apart from Don Giovanni's shirt in the last scene that looked a bit hippie-esque and the awful, gaudy necklace that Donna Anna wore.

Pisaroni is a stage animal, and while he does want Don Giovanni in his future, I can see why Leporello is such a draw for him, with so much stage and ensemble action.

emason
01-10-2012, 06:09 PM
The sets look awful in the house; all that was missing was laundry strung on a line between the buildings. They do not say sunny Seville, they say impoverished Naples. I believe I posted somewhere upthread also about the fact that the scenery shifted very noisily during the catalogue area and if I were Pisaroni I would demand double pay for that outrage. My view wasn't terribly good; I was too low down in the Family Circle and my view was blocked by railings and whatnot. I saw more of Pisaroni than of Kwiecien and I think that contributed to my like of Pisaroni over Kwiecien, although I certainly do want to hear Kwiecien again in something else.

Blythe is a goddess, no doubt about it. I saw the Met Giulio Cesare that made stars of Blythe and David Daniels back in the late 90s and I have never looked back in my adoration of Blythe. From the moment she drew herself up and announced she was 'alta Cornelia' I was hooked. She delivered then and continues to deliver now in spades.

BlueRidge
01-10-2012, 06:49 PM
I had to miss the December 3 Rodelinda because of surgery but I got out last week and saw the encore. Stephanie Blythe is just fantastic! I'm dying to see her again.

SaSherka
01-11-2012, 04:26 AM
The now-defunct Opera Boston did a production of Offenbach's La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (http://operaboston.org/archive_duchesse_specialfeatures.php) 2 years ago specifically for Stephanie Blythe and she was an absolute rock star in it. I haven't seen/heard her much, and I only vaguely remember her from the Il Trittico and Orfeo ed Euridice HDs. She does such a variety of roles (from Handel to Wagner) that I can't figure her out yet =) I missed Rodelinda encore as I wasn't in the mood for Fleming and long Handel... Will wait for the PBS broadcast. Btw, schedule is here: 2011-2012 Great Performances at the Met (http://t.co/3P4blmbh)

I am going to the Faust HD encore tomorrow and will be at the Met this weekend for Faust and The Enchanted Island. I spoiled myself with all the previews, reviews and interviews of the EI, but from what I gathered, it's a really crowd-pleasing production. Super-excited for the weekend!
Kwanfan, JDD is my #1 girl crush (but you know that already) ;)

emason
01-13-2012, 07:34 PM
Attention Joyce Di Donato fans: she rocked the house last night in The Enchanted Island. A triumph - she was superb, both her singing and her acting. What a character she has brought to light in Sycorax.

David Daniels did not sound in good voice and what do you know, Anthony Roth Costanzo took over for him in the second act and some poor unknown named Jeffrey Mandelbaum had to step into Costanzo's role of Ferdinand. ARC gets thumbs up from me; the only time I have previously seen him was in City Opera's production of Partenope as Armindo and he did not impress at all on that occasion. Last night was something else altogether; he was great and I will certainly consider giving him another chance now.

kwanfan1818
01-17-2012, 12:15 AM
Kwanfan, JDD is my #1 girl crush (but you know that already) ;)
JDD, dressed as a man in a huge bed sandwiched between Juan Diego Florez pretending to be Sister Collette, but dressed in black leather, and Diana Damrau in an off-the-shoulder giant poof of a pink silk dress = :smokin: