Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lowbrow cultcha

Completely by accident, I recently came across mention of this program: matinée performances *live* from the Met, broadcast to your local movie theater. There's something rather beautiful about being able to attend an opera in jeans, and watch whilst consuming Coke and popcorn.

This weekend was the first of the series: Gounod's Roméo et Juliette. It's not an opera I'm that familiar with, but of course the story is very familiar, so I figured...why not?

It was fantastic. I already know and like Roberto Alagna, so that was good, and the gal who played Juliette (Anna Netrebko) was incredible - great voice, great actress, and just adorable, to boot. I'll keep an eye out for her work in the future. The rest of the cast was good, too, especially Capulet (Charles Taylor) and Mercutio (Nathan Gunn).

During the set changes and part of the intermission, they talked with some of the performers, and with the conductor - none other than Placido Domingo. So that was pretty neat. Heh...kind of amazing how NOT fancy the back areas at the Met are, though. The public areas are so opulent that it was a bit of a shock seeing exposed pipes and worn paint and all in the halls and off-stage rooms.

The sound wasn’t as great as I’d kind of hoped, and overall it was more like watching an opera video on the big screen rather than like really being there, but still, I’ll go again. Having been to the Met for real exactly once, I have to say that there's nothing that replaces being in the same room as the singers, hearing their voices without any processing or intermediary, and being in the middle of that audience of people all living the experience with you...but it was still really cool.

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