I loved the opera. The scenery is too big for the opera house here, but it is gorgeous. Costumes ditto. The giant sculpture of Diana on the cover of the program has its back to most of the audience (it's on the side). There's not enough room for the dancers although they are interesting and beautiful execution (very much current style dancing, athletic, not baroque). The music is beautiful and very interesting. The singing was astounding: especially Nuccia Focile as Iphigenia, and Brett Polegato, baritone as Orestes (he was in End of the Affair--oops! not his fault!), was stunning. His singing really got to me. Everyone loved the tenor, William Burden, and the duet he sang with Orestes was terrific, but I though the former were really superb musicians, less star oriented and more musical/dramatic to the character. The orchestra was fabulous. Everything seemed well rehearsed (one quality I was so grateful for in Dr Atomic). I loved the special effects, especially Diana ex machina because she reminded me of the cool bad fairy in the new Mothra movies. Jim was less enthusiastic, but he definitely appreciated the musicians and the second half.
We went to the pre-opera lecture, about 2/3 of which I could have dispensed with, but that 1/3 was very helpful, especially about Gluck and the context of this particular work. I would have liked to understand what are some of the goals of this current production, but I haven't read all the program yet. This production sure made me realize I need to reexamine Gluck and not rely on a very thin music history survey knowledge.
I definitely viewed the theme as, "how, after war and dysfunctional family violence, do children create space for reconciliation and harmony?" It's a quintessential piece about how to get through PTSD, by having strong personal boundaries and integrity, and reaching out to the vulnerable.
I think it was fabulous that the Met and Seattle opera wanted to do this and at this time. It's interesting that this work is getting a second look. One of the women in my yoga class had seen a recent production in Chicago--so so. I bet she will like this one.
I would not have wanted to go had I not read RM Campbell's writing on this piece (both times). I would love to go see this again. Jim came home and found a recording by Gardiner--we're likely to get it. Pierre Monteux had conducted it and his version is also recorded.
The wind has started today at 2:30pm.