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Topic: The Metropolitan Opera - Live in HD: HIGHLY Recommended

  1. #1

    Exclamation The Metropolitan Opera - Live in HD: HIGHLY Recommended

    My wife and I did something last night that we've been meaning to do for a long time. We went to a local movie theatre to see a Metropolitan Opera production on the big screen.

    Allow me to reduce my reaction to one word - W-O-W.

    Really that sums it up. But now I'll use more words to explain why.

    We saw Rossini's "Le Comte Ory" which is part of The Met's current Encore presentation of productions from their 2010-2011 season.

    Here's their website about their incredible HD big screen presentations:

    The Met - Live in HD

    "Le Comte Ory" isn't exactly an all-time favorite opera. In fact, this is the first time The Met has ever done it. Both the score and the required voices are so devilishly difficult, the Met just never attempted it before.

    Rossini's music for the opera is very fun and lively if not especially significant. But this modern production is simply brilliant in its conception, and the performers are, without exception, amazing - They make The Met's hyperbolic slogan "The greatest voices in the world" seem true enough.

    Juan Diego Florez is stunning in the lead role. His crystal clear tenor is a constant thrill to hear. Equally as impressive is Diana Damrau in the female lead. I can't say I've ever heard a more thoroughly enjoyable soprano. Her cadenzas rise and fall flawlessly like smoothly spun silk. And her comedic abilities are just astounding, so effortless and sophisticated. Just watching her hands flutter in the best comic take off on 19th Century Delsarte presentational acting I've ever seen kept me laughing out loud.

    And the sound! They've achieved what I find to be the perfect balance between the natural sound of that great Met orchestra and a thorough, professionally produced theatre sound. Every instrument is crystal clear, every voice perfectly heard - It's better than what you would hear live at the opera house. It's obviously been complexly mixed and produced, but in a way that the results sound completely organic. Incredible. Anyone who still thinks that strings, for instance, need to stay moved down in a mix should hear these Very up-front strings which are athletically chugging away almost non-stop for 2 1/2 hours.

    --Don't care for opera? A lot of people don't. I only discovered my own taste for it not that many years ago. Opera is unique in its impossibly over-the-top storytelling, and I find the whole experience of seeing the absurd stories unfold through the equally bold and theatrical scores to be a truly Surreal experience that can't be had any other way.

    People with musical tastes that are mostly in the popular vein can stay away from opera, thinking it will be too corny and classical to be entertaining. People with more sophisticated musical tastes can think of opera in a rather opposite way, finding its music too old fashioned, in bad taste, and just too cliched to be enjoyable.

    But I say if people who have stayed away from opera for Any reason would just give themselves up to the experience, just sit down and let this gigantic form of performing art sweep over them - I don't know how they couldn't be glad they did.

    And this modern development of having the top-notch Met productions available in our local movie theatres is clearly the best thing that's happened to this unfortunately dying art form in decades. I think if the general public really understood how exciting this experience can be, they'd make The Met Live in HD showings as popular as Hollywood blockblusters like "The Avengers."

    Can you tell I had a good time? I encourage everyone to seek these events out. This particular Summer Encore series is happening right now. There are 4 more operas in the series, starting with the great "Don Giovanni" on June 27th and ending with "Der Rosenkavalier" on July 25th.

    Just go!


  2. #2

  3. #3

    Re: The Metropolitan Opera - Live in HD: HIGHLY Recommended

    I agree that the operas being offered by the Met are super. If one wants to become acquainted with opera repertoire, this is the time and place to satisfy that requirement. If these performances can't do it, maybe you don't like the genre. I, myself, am not an opera buff, but the voices, accompaniment and "front row seat" can't be beat......

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  4. #4

    Re: The Metropolitan Opera - Live in HD: HIGHLY Recommended

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Don't care for opera? A lot of people don't. I only discovered my own taste for it not that many years ago.
    So it's 1979 or so and I've been into 'classical' music for about 6 months, listening to instrumental works from a fairly extensive list of composers. I pretty much know and love the first 8 symphonies of Beethoven but I've never dared listen to the 9th. After all, it has...vocalists! And even though I've never heard the 9th, I know what those vocalists are going to sound like! They're going to sound like...opera singers! So it's with great trepidation that I finally decide to take the plunge.

    Now we flashback to 1977. This time it's bluegrass instrumentals that I'm getting into but I don't care to listen to any bluegrass singers. Too much catterwallin' twang for my tastes and this even though I grew up in the southwest part of Virginia.

    But now I consider Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Ralph Stanley and Jimmy Martin as 4 of my patron musical saints.

    As for opera...well, I now love all of Beethoven's 9th but I've never really gotten into opera. But now, reading your post, I am inspired. I've seen the trailers for these filmed performances many times while waiting with my kids for the latest cartoon animated feature to begin and have always been intrigued. Maybe I can convince one or both of my children to come along. Perhaps they'll get a much earlier start than I ever did!

  5. #5

    Re: The Metropolitan Opera - Live in HD: HIGHLY Recommended

    We follow the Met Live in HD season from here in Milan, Italy.
    The Ring was A-Class one.
    Thank you for spreading the call.
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  6. #6

    Re: The Metropolitan Opera - Live in HD: HIGHLY Recommended

    Quote Originally Posted by fabiolcati View Post
    We follow the Met Live in HD season from here in Milan, Italy.
    The Ring was A-Class one.
    Thank you for spreading the call.
    That's great, Fab - How does it work during the season? Do you pay for each broadcast, like people do for sporting events? And I need to look it up, I'm not clear if the season is presented at theatres also like these Encore presentations are.


  7. #7
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Suburban NYC

    Re: The Metropolitan Opera - Live in HD: HIGHLY Recommended

    Hi Again Randy,

    Another great reminder ... I've had several friends tell me just how sensational this series is.

    One of my friends said its akin to watching a baseball game in HD on a wide screen with surround-sound and tons of great camera angles and close-ups, verses a single fly-on-a-very-distant-wall vantage point. I suppose if you have endless resources and can afford the 6th row-center orchestra seats at the Met, well, that can compare. But for most of us, this is just too good to not experience.

    Thanks for posting this!


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