La Cenerentola

My week at the Metropolitan Opera

Lincoln Center - Metropolitan Opera House

The Metropolitan Opera House at night, as the audience files out of Madama Butterfly

I have just returned from New York, a trip that was based around celebrating a ‘significant’ birthday. During the 8-day stay, we took in five operas at the Metropolitan Opera House and, since I didn’t take a laptop with me, one post-trip round-up will capture thoughts on them all.

Overall, it was great to ‘live’ a different operatic experience for a week: everything about the Met is gargantuan, including (to be blunt) its own sense of self and the resulting hyperbole. In contrast, those fellow audience members with whom we chatted were reassuringly down-to-earth, and we had some great discussions, comparing notes on singers and performances across the Atlantic. And yet, from the security guards, to the rather prickly (and not particularly well-informed) backstage tour guide, to the social conventions around the front of house, it is all just slightly starchy when compared, dare I say it, to Covent Garden: more emphasis on a ‘sense of occasion’ than a night in the theatre, perhaps.  Maybe it’s the shades of all those Rockerfellers, Astors and Vanederbilts etched into the marble foyer. (more…)

Glyndebourne report

Picnicking on the Glyndebourne lawns

It’s a couple of weeks now since we did our annual trip to Glyndebourne, and I just haven’t had much chance since then to sit down and write it up.  Hence, this will be a quick round-up of both performances (seen on successive days): Cunning Little Vixen and La Cenerentola.

What to say of Vixen, other than that I still don’t quite get it.  The story is thin, to say the least, but to its credit it is told simply and briefly.  Janáček’s spare and direct musical and dramatic style serves only to emphasise the thinness, however, and up until the closing 20 minutes, I watch it mildly entertained, but never moved or gripped. (more…)