Met in HD 2023/24

methdTo be perfectly honest I haven’t been to a Met in HD broadcast in ages.  Regular readers will perhaps have noticed that I’m usually insanely busy on weekends as it is!  That said, I know that people appreciate a few thoughts on what;’s upcoming so I took a look at the 2023/24 season offering.  It’s an intriguing season.  The first three productions are more or less contemporary which must be some kind of record.  They are:

  • October 21st – Jake Heggie – Dead Man Walking.  This is just not my favourite opera but I understand why it’s popular.  The cast is stellar with Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham and Ryan McKinney, among others, and Yannick conducts.  For many people this will be a “must see”.
  • November 18th – Anthony Davis – X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.  I’ll be honest.  I have no idea about this one.
  • December 9th – Daniel Catán – Florencia en el Amazonas.  I don’t know much about this either but it’s based on Marquez and it has Ailyn Perez in the cast so I’d be inclined to take a punt on it.

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Met live in HD 2022/23

hdliveHere’s my quick preview of the recently announced 2022/23 Live in HD series from the Met.

Cherubini – Medea – October 22nd 2022 – A strong start.  It’s a new David McVicar production with Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role and a generally strong cast.  The combination of McVicar and Radvanovsky in Rusalka was one of the best things I’ve seen in years. Continue reading

Met in HD 2021/22

methdThere’s a Met in HD season again with ten shows starting in October.  All shows start at 12.55pm New York time.  Three out of ten performances are 21st century operas which is as surprising as it is welcome.  There are some interesting looking new productions and one or two that fit into a Met formula that doesn’t work for me usually.  And there are two remarkably venerable productions that surely are past their sell by date.  Here are my thoughts on each:

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Ticket giveaway

porgyticketsIf anybody in Canada is interested in seeing the HD broadcast of the Met production of  Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess I may be able to help.  I can’t do anything about this upcoming weekend’s live broadcast but I do have, courtesy of Touchwood PR, a couple of tickets to give away for the encore presentations.  It’s a Canada only deal and you could pick any showing between Saturday, March 28th and Sunday, April 5th at the movie theatre of your choice.  This link should serve to figure out when it’s on where.  Comment with an email address and I’ll sort out logistics with the lucky winner.  First come first served.

Into 2020

newyearSo what do the first couple of weeks of 2020 hold.  First up Toronto Operetta Theatre their traditional Mew Year run.  his year it’s Johann Strauss’ The Gypsy Baron and there are five shows between December 28th and January 5th. The cast includes Michael Barrett, Meghan Lindsey and Beste Kalender.  It plays at the St. Lawrence Centre.

If you can even contemplate the thought of another late night drinking Against the Grain’s Opera Pub is on at 9pm on January 2nd at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club.  The following night tenor Zach Rioux has a free recital of mostly Italian rep in Mazzoleni Hall at 7.30pm (ETA CANCELLED).

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Straightforward Otello from the Met

In 2015 the Metropolitan Opera premiered a new production of Verdi’s Otello directed by Bartlett Sher.  It was broadcast in the Met in HD series and subsequently released on Blu-ray and DVD.  It’s a bit hard to judge the production on video because of the video direction.  I don’t think there are any big ideas but it’s decorative enough with arrangements and rearrangements of plexiglass wall/rooms and some effective video projections for things like the storm scene.  Only Act 4 breaks the mould with a sparse stage with just a bed and a few chairs.  I strongly suspect though from the occasional wide angle shot that there was a lot more going on visually than one sees on the video.  Costumes are 19th centuryish and quite decorative.


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An offer you can’t refuse?

trollsSo this header was in my mailbox today:

Cineplex’s The Met: Live in HD features Franco Zefferelli’s Tosca on January 27 and Bartlett Sher’s production of L’Elisir d’Amore on February 10th

My first thought was that I would rather be suspended upside down in a vat of ordure and flogged by drug crazed trolls and then I realised that unless I was somewhere in the the multiverse where the Met still had Robert Carsen’s Eugene Onegin this couldn’t be right.  The body text clarified.  It’s actually the, by now scarcely distinguishable from the Zeff, Caledonian knight Sir David MacVicar “Rivaling the splendor of Franco Zeffirelli’s Napoleonic-era sets and costumes”.

I’ll stick with the demented trolls.

Magic Flute for kids

The Met’s abridged version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, in English, got an HD broadcast in 2006 and a subsequent DVD release.  It’s Julie Taymor’s production and it’s visually spectacular with giant sets, loads of very effective puppets and very good dancers (I wish every opera company used dance as effectively as the Met.  Too expensive I guess).  It’s more something one might expect to see at Bregenz than at the Four Seasons Centre.  Costuming is sometimes a bit weird.  The Three Ladies have removable heads and the chorus of priests look like origami angels but it’s never less than interesting visually. There’s nothing about the cuts (it comes in at about an hour and threequarters) that changes the plot in any way that makes it obviously kid friendly beyond being shorter and there’s no attempt to make it anything other than a pretty fairy tale.  If one wants a Flute with deep meaning this isn’t it.


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