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A night at the opera
#1
Sort of following on to the thread about favourite opera arias (that I cannot find), last night I went to see a broadcast from the New York Met. in one of the large multiplex cinemas that we have where I live. I received an e-mail from the complex to remind me that it was on and I booked on line. It cost 23€/£18/$30 which is somewhat cheaper than the 235€/£186/$300 plus if you would pay to see it at the Met. itself.

The opera was Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" based on Beaumarchais' tale of sexual and political shenanigans.

I was a little concerned that this version had been updated to the 1930s but in fact, apart from one anomaly; the Count's feudal rights, it worked extremely well since it was set just before the outbreak of war and also at a time when class distinction was still rife. The only negative aspect was that the sound quality was poorer than I had expected and as always in Spanish cinemas, the volume was far too high and almost distorted at times. Apart from that, I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The singing was of a high standard from singers completely unknown to me:

Countess Almaviva - Amanda Majeski
Susanna - Marlism Petersen
Cherubino - Isabel Leonard
Count Almaviva - Peter Matei
Figaro - Ildar Abdrazakov

The whole thing was conducted by James Levine and the somewhat dark but very clever production was by Richard Eyr. One review I read said that it was too dark but the reviewer has obviously never seen the inside of a Spanish palace.

The scenery was very clever using the revolving stage to reveal Figaro's quarters, the Banquet Hall, the Countess's room, the garden etc. What made it a memorable performance for me was that not only was the singing of a high standard but the singers knew how to act also, something very important when you see close-ups of their faces at times and an ability lacking in so many singers. Pavarotti, in spite of a fabulous voice was apparently an atrocious actor.

The cinema was surprisingly full with a mixture of Spanish and foreigners and the production was aided by subtitles in Spanish that, in spite of their necessary brevity, gave an insight in to da Ponte's fantastic libretto. What surprised me a little was that so few people laughed even in the most comic bit and after all, it is a sublime comedy. My favourite scene when Susanna appears from the dressing room when both the Count and the Countess are expecting Cherubino, was wonderful to behold with the expressions on the Count and Countesse's faces and even the expression that Susanna gave. Some of the scenes were so good that at the end of an aria there was almost a temptation to applaud. It would have been a little pointless if the artists could not acknowledge it.

I don't pretend to be an expert on the work but I knew that the original work by Beaumarchais had been banned by Louis XVI who had been outraged at the representation of a mere servant bettering his master. During the interval I was discussing how revolutionary and shocking it must have been for the nobility of the time and no wonder that when Mozart produced his version that the Emperor Joseph II was also shocked but, in spite of that, allowed the work to go ahead, fortunately for all of us today. What a work of absolute genius we might have lost had the decision been otherwise.

The NY Daily News seems just as enthusiastic as I about the production:

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment...-1.1949461
"You can be young without money but you can't be old without money"
Maggie the Cat from "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." by Tennessee Williams
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#2
I love the fact that they've made great opera accessible to so many people with this program. I've seen La Boheme, Aida and Anna Bolena (with Anna Netbrebko singing the lead) this way.

In reverse, this summer my boyfriend and I watched our favorite movie, Moonstruck, on a giant screen on the plaza outside the Met. If you're not familiar, four of the characters attend a performance of La Boheme as part of the plot.
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#3
Super glad you found it of benefit. Enjoy the rest!
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#4
ShiftyNJ Wrote:In reverse, this summer my boyfriend and I watched our favorite movie, Moonstruck, on a giant screen on the plaza outside the Met. If you're not familiar, four of the characters attend a performance of La Boheme as part of the plot.

No, I don't know "Moonstruck", sounds interesting.
"You can be young without money but you can't be old without money"
Maggie the Cat from "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." by Tennessee Williams
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