Written December 26, 2014
I have vaguely intended to see “Les Troyens” ever since I encountered a description of it in my father’s old Kobbe, but this was the first chance I had. I generally don’t care much for French opera, but Berlioz is a much more interesting composer than most—after all, he was one of the very, very few who could make even Wagner sit up and pay attention. My wife and I found this performance brilliant. If we had any complaint, it was that it was too dark—but life-from-the-Met videos always have been, whether on broadcast or when done by Fathom. There’s only so much that can be done to adapt a stage production for the camera.
Written March 06, 2015
Despite compelling performances by Met Opera stars Deborah Voigt and, especially, the ravishing Susan Graham, Hector Berlioz's mid-19th century opera, "Les Troyens," did not possess the musical nourishment required to sustain interest through a very long five hours. While there were many lovely passages, the fact that none of the opera's arias nor group vocals has attained a separate performance life indicates a serious deficit in dramatic musical power. The second act, especially, which contained long, tedious stretches, including a very routine ballet, would have benefited greatly by being cut in half. Poor Berlioz! Even his biographer noted that the the work was widely considered "a great sprawling white elephant." A one-time-only experience for this opera fan.
Written September 18, 2014
Cool production; wonderful leads; boring opera. I really don't like French opera!. This merely re-confirms my bias!
Written August 01, 2014
Bryan Hymel as Enee was electric, and the ladies (Voigt and Graham) were excellent. Berlioz's music as always was superb.
But why must the director think she knows so much better than Virgil and Berlioz? Her odd changes made hash of key points of the plot. For example -- bringing Andromache and Hecuba onstage during the mass suicide scene, when it is essential that the audience understand that Andromache became booty. Or -- having Enee wandering around Troy when he sees Hector's ghost, when the point is that Hector awakens him and tells him to flee.
And Croft as Chorebe seemed far more in love with himself than with Cassandre.
Nonetheless -- thrilling.
Written January 30, 2015
Berlioz music is wonderful. The singing was wonderful. The opera was too long. The ballet was beautiful, but it can be eliminated without hurting the story. I did enjoy the opera very much.