While not one of Puccini's most recognizable operas, it remains one of his best-kept secrets.
Unlike many of his other operas, the score isn't filled with his characteristic dramatic pauses and breaks, but is almost continuous. The same can be said for the lyrics. Non-stop action is the theme. Perhaps Deborah Voigt put it best during her first intermission interview when she called the character Minnie "so very chattie." While known for her Wagnerian style, she was well-suited to Minnie - a sharp, hard-working, saloon-owning girl of the gold rush. Her performance was strong, clear and steady. This is a very difficult soprano role and she was a perfect fit. Marcello Giordani was - as usual - outstanding. He was perfect as the rogue bandit (**** Johnson) caught off-guard by the morally upright Minnie. His performance was genuine and full of emotion. Also very good were baritones Lucio Gallo (Jack Rance) and Dwayne Croft (Sonora). All-in-all, this is a must see performance
The Met's HD Broadcast of The Magic Flute is definitely worth taking the children for an
introduction to opera. With production designed by Julie Taymor (of Broadway's Lion King fame) the sets and costumes are outstanding. An abridged version of Motzart's Die Zauberflote, it's performed in English, although subtitled (Opera English isn't easy to understand). It's targeted to family audiences with an the English translation peppered with modern quips and phrases to provide interest to all age groups. Papageno (Nathan Gunn) is very funny and his acrobatics make the character. All the main characters are done justice by their performers, but the performances of Rene Pape as Sarastro and Erika Miklosa as The Queen of the Night are particularly enjoyable. Of special note is the signing of the Three Spirits by Bennett Kosman, Jesse Burnside Murray, and Jacob Wade. Just wonderful.
Although abridged and in English, my hope is that it kindles an interest in opera in a new generation.
The Metropolitan Opera: La...
Met Summer Encore: The Magic Flute
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