I am developing a pathological hatred of the people who do the video direction for opera DVDs. The sole exception I can think of is François Roussillon. Brian Large, Humphrey Burton, Kriss Rumanis, Gary Halvorson and the rest I could happily roast over a slow fire while poking them with a sharp stick. I do not want to see the tenor’s dental work or the soprano’s tonsils. I certainly don’t want a head shot of someone who isn’t even singing filling the whole screen. I do not watch opera on a 1950s television with a ten inch screen. Who does? FFS let us poor viewers see what is going on on the stage. It’s quite likely that the stage director does all that stuff deliberately(1) and maybe we might be able to understand the production if we could only see the bloody thing. This rant brought to you courtesy of trying to decode David Alden’s Ariodante while looking through the wrong end of the telescope.
This is what I want to see much/most of the time:
With tons going on all around and in the background this isn’t helpful:
fn1. OK this may not be true of Zeffirelli or similar Met favourites. If the alternative is a furniture catalogue I’ll take the close ups.