After a long time, I finally saw a full opera production at the MET. It has been such long time. Years ago, I studied opera performance but my personality did not mesh with it. Most of the popular operas from the romantic period annoyed me. All the women with the poor me stories that can only be solved by suicide.
I enjoyed Mozart and the more arcane opera productions from the same period such as Salieri and others. But La Boheme pays the bills not Gretry's Le Magnifique. Not only did I gravitate to the Enlightenment operas, I favored chamber music. You can't build a career out of songs. So I left off my studies and opera fell by the wayside.
But this year, the MET was performing many of the operas I did enjoy.
Tosca is one of the few romantic era operas that I enjoy and I wouldn't have minded singing. Tosca is a fantastic character. She is strong, passionate, loving, white knight who is also, unfortunately, dumber than a bag of rocks. There is no doubt that her uncontrollable passion which also includes a good amount of jealousy brings down all the people she cares for and herself as well.
Oksana Dyka was wonderful in the role. She had a voice so clear and beautiful. The acting may have been a bit staid many times but she pulled through. Her Cavaradossi was Roberto Aronica. His "E Lucian le stelle" caused the audience to cheer. I was a bit disappointed in Zeljko Lucic. Out of the three leads, his acting was the best. Unfortunately, many times his voice disappeared under the orchestra and the chorus. His Te Deum scene was ruined because his voice didn't carry.
Of course the sets and the staging were gorgeous. But many times too fussy, fuddy duddy. Yes, I loved the church set, Scarpia's office, and the ramparts but they were a pain to move into place and out of place. I suspect the 3 hour plus run time is entirely due to these sets needing an army of stage hands to move them around. At each intermission you could hear hammering and scraping which ruined the magic of a day at a MET performance. Would less expensive and expansive sets be so awful?
My seats were in family circle which was all that my pocketbook would allow. But even those seats were over 50 dollars. Clearly opera is only for a select audience not only culturally but monetarily. Its sad because more people would enjoy it if it wasn't so expensive and remote. I can see why Opera is the more popular of the arts even over ballet. I think it is because the voices of the singers have an actual physical effect on an audience. Unlike ballet which is just admiring spectatorship.
It was very exciting and the 3 hours moves fast. If you can see the last few performances of the fall season...GO!