Thursday, February 08, 2007
Tonight: An Opera
Bellini I PURITANI, Met, 8.2.2007; Summers; Netrebko, Kunde, Vassallo, Relyea. Said with a shrug, eh, Bellini was okay, a little boring actually. I did something I rarely do - I left early. After being stunned with Jenufa this week, it was impossible for me to get into I Puritani. Due to leaving work at the last minute, I arrived just as the orchestra was warming up. The curtain opened just as I was taking off my coat and catching my breath. As I saw the set, a sinking feeling overcame me. The set was boring. The chorus was boring. The costumes were boring. There was nothing theatrical about it. Finally the Star took the stage, earning applause from the packed house before she even opened her mouth to sing one note. This was my first time to see Anna Netrebko sing live. The Met is pushing the soundbite that she's Audrey Hepburn with a voice. Well, sure she's beautiful, but at times I found myself wishing that she was dubbed. Her voice is heavy and dark. However, when she let loose on her top notes, there was beauty. She offered a thrilling liteness there in her top range. She has been extolled as a great actress...I didn't see that here. She exhibited no subtleness and her movements were over the top. Sally pointed out that it looked like she was in a silent movie melodrama. The famous mad scene came almost out of nowhere as if she suddenly decided that she would run to the front of the stage and fall down. She lay on her back and hung her head into the orchestar pit, meanwhile the chorus is just standing there. It didn't fit the scene and there was no set up for it. It just didn't live up to the hype. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had not seen one of the greatest performances I've ever seen earlier this week in Jenufa. Sally pointed out that it is really not fair to compare the two because they really are two different genres of opera - sure, same house, same big voices, but definitely different fruit. I think I'll stick to the drinkable Bellini, at least for now.