Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Opera Notes

By Hadleyblogger Drew

I was going to link to that piece about the German opera that Judith wrote about yesterday as well, but after what she wrote there's nothing more to be said.

But speaking of opera criticism, check out the Star Tribune review of what appears to be yet another mediocre staging from the Minnesota Opera , an organization that seems to have forgotten two things: 1) the opera's supposed to be theater as well as music, and 2) people don't really care about your pet ideological ruminations as much as they do seeing and hearing grand opera. (Favorite line: La Donna del Lago was "a feast for the ear rather than the eye.") Get the point?

Now, if you want to see a great opera rip job, check out this review by Jay Nordlinger in the New York Sun of the Met's opening night performance of Madama Butterfly. You have to read the whole piece to savor the true flavor, but I'll give you a few samples:

"I had not thought it possible for Mr. Levine - the all-understanding and all-expressing - to conduct with such indifference."

"Throughout Act 1 [Cristina Gallardo-Domas, portraying Butterfly] was quavering and uncertain, missing several notes. She was also repeatedly sharp."

Marcello Giordani (Pinkerton) was "in wretched form: full of tension, straining, lunging, braying. . .Plus, he was a stranger to rhythm, and almost to pitch."

About the puppet used to portray Sorrow, Butterfly and Pinkerton's son: "From my seat, this item looked like Yoda, the big-eared creature from "Star Wars." This may be a child only a mother can love."


Nordlinger notes that for all that, the audience seemed to enjoy it. I'll have to check around the rest fo the opera blogosphere to see what others think.

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