yes it was long!! and for a person without "classical" education [meaning knowledge of the Greek
and Roman culture] a lot of name dropping of obscure names. But for those for whom each nugget adds layers of meaning - a rich banquet. And, not less, the ghost of Shakespeare hovers over the action: the comic relief of two "lower class sailors" to open Act V, counterpoints the grief and hysteria, and whole rainbow of emotions that Berlioz evokes.
Looking at other productions [admittedly on YouTube], I appreciated the current Met production as "lavish", and "dynamic" with lots of crowd/chorus action. This is an opera that leans heavily on crowd scenes. The principal lead singers were stunning - believable people - way beyond the "park and bark" stereotype of bad acting in bygone decades.
I confess I did yawn a bit at the sheer length and number of dance sequences, but I also know that this was an intrinsic part of 19th century spectacle. Great show!!
When Rudolpho hauled out his typewriter, i knew that we were no longer in the 1830s, and at the end
of Act II, the principals rode off in a classy touring car, the time lurched forward to the 1920s, but generally it seemed that we were somewhere in the 1890s, not so far from when the music was composed. Certainly it was a presentation with lots of movement, from the clowning of Rudopho's pals, to the "street artists" of Act II, and even the drunks and passers by in Act III - there was almost always something happening.At times the subtitles were lost [fell off the bottom of the screen], and at other times misplaced [in the Act III quartet, text of the fighting couple was superimposed on the reconciling couple]. Musically it was a treat; great voices. Vargas was superb!
Initially the show was marred by technical glitches in the sound. A couple seconds here and there,
which is particularly annoying when the subject is an opera, and the sound track is so essential. Then the bulk of the opera was technically fine for sound, but in the finale [!] the grand ensemble item the closes the final scene, all went blank for several minutes, and people left the theatre thinking the rest of the transmission was lost, but then it did come back.
But aside from these technical issues [very annoying!] the production itself was spritely, lively and fully of human passion. Every character was not just well sung, but well acted. It was everything a good "show" must be.
In the intermission feature, two of the people presenting information spoke in Italian, but no subtitles were provided; this should not have been difficult.
Summary: The singing top notch, the acting superb, the technical details of the staging were very imaginative. But for HD not very good.
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