Opera Suggestions, II

emason

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I must give a shoutout to Alex Rosen as Farasmane. Somewhere upthread I raved about his Theseus in the Hippolyte et Aricie I saw at Julliard last spring. Farasmane is a small supporting role, so Rosen didn’t have so much of an opportunity to show what he can do, but I’m still interested in following his career. Philadelphia Opera is doing Semele next season and Rosen is cast in that; I see a trip to Philly for a matinee in my future.

Quoting myself above, I did indeed go down to Philly this past Saturday for Semele. The singing was sensational with the exception of Alek Shrader as Jupiter; he was underwhelming to say the least. It's a pity because Where'er You Walk is arguably the most famous aria in Semele. Amanda Forsythe knocked it out of the park as Semele and Daniela Mack was every bit her equal as Juno/Ino. Alex Rosen was a wonderful Cadmus but his Somnus was even better; this was the funniest interpretation of Somnus I've ever seen.

Now for the bad news: OMG, I hated the production. This was another modern, everyone in black or if you're lucky dark brown, unless you are Juno and Jupiter and then you might get silver. Almost no color anywhere. Shredded bolts of fabric hanging everywhere. Cadmus' kingdom was the ugliest, dreariest place imaginable. Athamus was an even bigger prick than usual. I consider Semele one of opera's biggest twits and from the moment she prattles on about Endless Pleasure, Endless Love I'm rooting for annihilation by thunderbolt. Not this time; I was actually rooting for her to escape, it was so bad at home.

Another issue was the cast of thousands on stage; all these dancers doing modern yank and jerk movements and rolling around on the floor and generally obtruding into the drama where they didn't need to be. I believe the review in the Philadelphia Inquirer said the stage needed to be 'decluttered'. They got that right; so much of the intimacy of the drama was steamrolled over.

That's my take; your mileage might vary.
 

mjb52

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Is there a ballet thread somewhere? I searched but couldn't find it and somehow it seems like people in this thread would be likeliest to know!
 

emason

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Is there a ballet thread somewhere? I searched but couldn't find it and somehow it seems like people in this thread would be likeliest to know!


NYC Ballet Fans, Part 2 It’s buried several pages back since the last post was in June.
 

kwanfan1818

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That's too bad about Alek Shrader, @emason: he sounded wonderful in the role in Seattle a few years ago.

In 2006, I saw a modern dress version of Semele in Phoenix directed by Chas Rader-Shieber, and it was one of the most wonderful productions I've ever seen. In the scene were Semele is singing her lament, she was sitting on a couch on a stage will many couches and a refrigerator upstage center. As she sang, on at a time, a man in evening dress and bare feet slowly walked to the refrigerator, opened the freezer, took out a pint of ice cream and a spoon, arranged himself on a sofa, and ate the ice cream.

I seem to remember a lot of hot pink and no clutter.

I'm sorry the one in Philly sounds so :yikes:.
 

emason

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Truly, the production I liked was the City Opera production where Semele was Marilyn Monroe, Jupiter was JFK, and Juno was a wrathful Jackie Kennedy in a pillbox hat. It was fun, inventive, and beautifully sung.

Maybe Shrader was just having a bad day at the office.
 

canbelto

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Well Placido Domingo got fired from the Met yesterday. I wrote a little requiem to his career on my blog:
 

eusebius

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Well Placido Domingo got fired from the Met yesterday. I wrote a little requiem to his career on my blog:

This is a really balanced and nuanced treatment of the subject. Brava! :cheer2:
 

canbelto

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On the other hand Manon ... not so much.
 

skatesindreams

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skatesindreams

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The Met uploaded this great clip of Jessye Norman in Dialogues:
So moving; powerful, in its' restraint:
 

canbelto

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I saw Macbeth.

It was pretty great. Only one performance left -- I'd catch it if I were you.
 

canbelto

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I went to see Glass's Akhnaten. Was actually pretty disappointed. But it's coming to HD cinema on Saturdays so ...

 

emason

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I’m hoping to get to the Wednesday encore. I was blown away by Satygraha when I saw it, so I’m curious about Akhenaten.
 

emason

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Life, as it happens to do frequently, got in the way of all my Fall opera plans. I made it to nothing. I did, however, get to Agrippina at the Met last week and last night I went to Alice Tully Hall for Juilliard’s concert staging of Rinaldo.

Rinaldo 1, Agrippina 0

I’ll refrain from any more Agrippina comments until those going to see it in HD have a chance. Then the snark starts.
 

emason

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Actually, I think it will come off better in HD than it does in the house. No complaints about the singing; my issues are with the production. (And the fact that I have very fond memories of the City Opera performance I saw back in 2007.)
 

SaSherka

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Actually, I think it will come off better in HD than it does in the house. No complaints about the singing; my issues are with the production. (And the fact that I have very fond memories of the City Opera performance I saw back in 2007.)
:watch: oh, I am dying to know what you didn't love about the 20-year old production! I saw the 2nd performance (from the 3rd row 😍) and will be back in house during the HD.
 

canbelto

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Actually, I think it will come off better in HD than it does in the house. No complaints about the singing; my issues are with the production. (And the fact that I have very fond memories of the City Opera performance I saw back in 2007.)

I actually saw it in the house and enjoyed it. The fact that I dislike baroque opera seria might have helped -- I needed the comedy of the production.

 

BlueRidge

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I love Handel and I loved the music and my god, Joyce DiDonato, Brenda Rae, Iestyn Davis, what fantastic singing. I had mixed feelings about the production although I thought Brenda Rae was hilarious, loved her portrayal.

I felt like the setting showed how Handel's music is as appropriate to today as any contemporary music. YMMV!
 

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