Well, yet another Mozart opera and yet another production showcasing middling singers.
I think it is really poor of the MET to invite performers (if you want to give them that name) onto their stage when they can't even be heard over the harpsichord during recitatives. Obviously this is the new normal. This is the end result of cronyism and nepotism; pure, unadulterated mediocrity. This is what happens when opera companies don't groom their own, local talent. Instead they rely on the "Star System" which is really just a cock fight fest in which rich people push their own pet singers into the ring.
I'm tired of it. I'm tired of paying for it. I'm being taken for a ride while the MET powers laugh at me being a sucker born last minute.
The production stage set values? Wonderful as always. I can't ever fault the MET for not being opulent in their sets and costumes.
The chorus? Very nice, very lively and focused. I'm sure there are any number of singers in the chorus who could have filled the lead roles reliably, more so than the "stars".
The only singers who didn't embarrass themselves were Hibla Gerzmava as Donna Anna, Paul Appleby as Don Ottavio (I remember liking him last year), and Matthew Rose as Masetto. Honorable mentions were Serena Malfi as Zerlina and Kwangchul Youn as The Commendatore. My quibble with the last two have more to do with style rather than ability. Ms. Malfi had only one color to her voice....brassy. I suppose she was worried about being heard. That wasn't the problem, the problem was that she sounded the same in each aria. There was very little acting involved in her performance. On the other hand Kwangchul's voice was lovely but all over the place. His voice for the most part was above the orchestra but then it would fall out. He has a big voice, but he needs more control.
I'm starting to believe that MET performances are only worthwhile if a really big star is among the cast. Such as last year when I saw Placido Domingo's Simon Boccanegra. Every singer in that production was top drawer. But then again, Domingo wouldn't stand for nothing less than top drawer talent performing with him. But that would mean missing out on old standbys and interesting productions if they don't have superstars cast.
All I do know is that Mozart deserves better. He isn't a throwaway piece of candy for the masses. He composed for big voices just as much as Wagner composed for the Ring Cycle. It is criminal that these productions are being wasted on singers who aren't up to the challenge.
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