Michael Volle

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…)

Les Vêpres Siciliennes

Erwin Schrott as Procida and dancers in Les Vêpres siciliennes © ROH / Bill Cooper 2013

Erwin Schrott as Procida and dancers in Les Vêpres siciliennes © ROH / Bill Cooper 2013 – click through to ROH Flickr for more

Les Vêpres Siciliennes has had something of a bumpy run, not dissimilar to the last relative rarity that the Royal Opera pulled out of the bag (Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable): casting became increasingly fluid as the première and the first couple of performances went on. This threatened to overshadow the much-anticipated debut of director Stefan Herheim and, indeed, the performance of a piece not seen before at Covent Garden. (more…)

Tosca back again

One of the Royal Opera’s many-cast money-spinners for this season, we caught the second cast of the run on Saturday night.  It made its mark, but not without some difficulties along the way.  A short set of jottings this time. (more…)