The final performance is tonight.
I saw this last week, courtesy of the Met Opera via my members with the Independent Theater Bloggers Association. I was thrilled to accept this invitation, although I would had gone anyway as a participant in the Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman Rush Tickets program , in which $20 orchestra seat are sold on the day of the performance. (We LOVE you, Dr. Varis!)
When I see a performance like this, it's like getting the wind knocked out of me and I'm so excited I can hardly fall asleep. Every moment of this Hamlet is thrilling. Other than its fairly ugly set by Christian Fenouillat, it's a beyond fabulous production.
Hamlet is long, I know that from seeing it on Broadway last summer. But the pace here is fast. It's interesting to know the story and many lines from the play, but since it's opera it's all sung through making it an edge of the seat experience. The production is by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser and they don't waste a moment, directing some very physical scenes, especially between Keenlyside's Hamelt and Larmore's Gertrude. At one point, he dragged her across the stage by her arm - thrilling! Christophe Forey's lighting is also gorgeous, setting the mood from the very first moments.
Ophélie's mad scene by Petersen was brilliant. She was completely on the edge - singing insanity with incredible power while still managing to sing it heart breakingly beautiful. Larmore, who is rarely at the Met, sang as if she was going to milk every moment for what it's worth. Keenlyside, so handsome with the mix of broodiness and aloofness, was fantastic. In fact, the entire cast sounded gorgeous - including that Met Chorus.
The score is gorgeous too. I was expecting sort of Verdean, but it's actually light and sweeping and at times menacing.
I won't soon forget this production. Unfortunately, it's not on the Met's 2010/11 season list, but I hope it will return the next season. I also hope that the Met doesn't wait so long to bring back Marlis Petersen, Simon Keenlyside and especially Jennifer Larmore.