Saturday, September 27, 2014
Opening on the Met
On Monday September 22, The Metropolitan Opera House opened its new season with Le nozze di Figaro after what had been a stressful summer of negotiations with its singers, stage hands and crew. There were a few months that the opening looked as if it would have to be pushed back or possibly cancelled do to these wage negotiations. If you were to see the photos from the opening it looked like any other Met opening, famous personalities, big red carpet, expensive clothes and great fan fare. According to James Jordan the opera critic at the New York Observer, the whole reason for the opening Mozart's Figaro ended up being rather dull.
It was disappointing to read Mr. Jordan's review of the new production because after a rough summer at the Met, I was hoping that they could catch a break and have a successful opening night. It was also disheartening to hear that Mr. Levine's conducting seemed to be slowing down the action of the Opera. Mr. Levine has suffered a lot of health issues over the past few years so it is understandable that his conducting might not be at the same level. That being said though, as someone who has been fortunate enough to see him conduct live, it might be time for Mr. Levine to pass on the baton. I am a huge fan of Mr. Levine and I hope that he can always stay on and help the Met with its artistic development, but maybe a new main conductor will revitalize the Met and help draw in newer audiences.
The biggest problem that Mr. Jordan seemed to have with the production was the new time period that Figaro was moved to. The director Richard Eyre decided to move the time period from 18th century Spain to the 1930s depression era. While Mr. Jordan doesn't seem to be a person who believes that you shouldn't move an operas original time period, he held a problem with the fact that they didn't seem to use this new time period to their advantage. Mr. Jordan explained that the only shift from the 18th century to the 20th century was a change in costumes but little else.
Mozart at the Met always seems to run into problems do to the nature of Mozart Operas. The Met is a vast space and the music is easily eaten up by the hall. Hopefully, the season will move into a better place after Figaro and get them out of the rough patch they have seemed to gotten themselves into. I am looking forward to hearing about The Death of Klinghoffer, a work by John Adams. The work itself has already caused great controversy and called for Peter Gelb to pull it from being broadcast to movie theatres.
Review found here at http://observer.com/2014/09/james-levines-figaro-and-the-mets-opening-night-make-for-a-bad-marriage/