On Saturday afternoon I attended the Met’s Live in HD movie-theatre performance of Turandot, Puccini’s final and unfinished opera. These HD transmissions are being hailed as the next best thing to a performance in the opera house. And for the likes of me, this most certainly is true. Of course nothing can compare to the thrill of a live opera performance. But if like me, you love opera, and live a three hour plus plane journey away from New York, this technology brings the Met's opera season within an attainable proximity. HD live is a gift.
Unfortunately this particular performance was marred by repeated interruptions of the audio and video signal. During the intermission the cinema management informed us this was a global glitch and the Met were trying to repair the feed. As way of compensation, all attending were offered a free pass to the encore presentation, Wednesday November 18. In addition, as patrons left the theatre, management handed out free movie passes.
In spite of the glitches, the production was truly spectacular. Marcello Giodani gave a wonderful performance as Calaf. His rendition of Nessun Dorma was spine tingling. I was prepared to be disappointed, being so familiar with Luciano Pavarotti's Nessun Dorma. Of course Giodani is no Pavarotti, but then Pavarotti's voice was magic.
A talent to watch out for and one I will be following is Russian soprano, Marina Poplavskaya. For me she stole the show. Her performance was breathtaking. Her voice was clear, lyrical and surprisingly strong. Combined with grace and beauty, she is the complete package.
There were interviews during both intermissions with cast members, the conductor, two musicians and the prop designer. Here I learned, Charles Anthony, portraying the Emperor, first sang at the Met in 1954. My parents enjoyed many seasons at Met from 1957 to 1962. It made me feel strangely close to them when I realized they must have seen Anthony in numerous productions. During the interview Anthony also revealed that his real family name was in fact Caruso. This behind the scenes view is the advantage HD broadcasts have over live opera performances. In addition to the interviews you are taken behind the closed curtains and are privy to the scene changing with all its hustle and bustle.
I thoroughly enjoyed my operatic afternoon. I can't wait to attend the January HD feed of Carmen. I left the theatre feeling happy and contented. The only thing that could transform this idyllic day into a blissful one, a brief stop at DSW.
Well of course I did!!! Wouldn't you?