Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wednesday Nights @ the [Met] Opera

Beginning tomorrow evening (June 16), a number of Denver-area movie theatres will reprise six different Met in HD productions over the course of consecutive Wednesday evenings. These operas are replays of the live Saturday afternoon cinecasts taken from the past several seasons. Each encore presentation starts promptly at 6:30 p.m. To find a venue near you, check out Fathom Events, the Metropolitan Opera, or the Denver Post. Here is a brief description of the first two operas to be shown:

June 16—Aida
The Met’s production of this Verdi masterpiece is a massive homage to excess—grand opera at its most extravagant—from the spectacular costumes to the larger-than-life sets. The well-known Triumphal March scene includes so many extras and props that every pseudo-Egyptian artifact within miles of Lincoln Center is in use on this stage. Violetta Urmana sings the title role and does a credible job, as does Johan Botha as Radamès (her erstwhile lover), but this production belongs to Dolora Zajick, the American-born mezzo-soprano who has owned the role of Amneris for the past 20 years and still performs it with tremendous fire and a voice you will not easily forget.

June 23—Roméo et Juliette
Anna Netrebko (pictured above) received significant kudos for her performance in this most famous of Charles Gounod’s operas, and her spectacular vocal gymnastics are but one reason not to miss this performance. Her athleticism adds a youthful exuberance to a role usually sung by staid sopranos who require a significant amount of suspension of disbelief when contemplating the fact that Juliet is supposed to be a teenager. This performance reaches back several years, prior to the vocal difficulties that now seem to affect tenor Roberto Alagna, although he would definitely not be my first choice for Roméo.

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