Friday, May 06, 2011

Orfeo - yet again

I've reviewed the Vilnius Orfeo at least three times (and I've probably seen it more often than that) - and yesterday it was the Orfeo, by Gluck, at the Met Opera. Slightly a step up, in ticket cost and probably soloists as well.

This production was by Mark Morris, a well-known choreographer - and it showed. Lots of dancing in it. To be honest, at the beginning I found the production a bit boring, both visually (the colours were fairly drab) and in terms of action - some of the dancing seemed a bit pointless. But I suppose in New York, especially this week, it would be a bit sensitive to set it in the 9/11 scenario as the Vilnius performance had been, especially this week, with screaming sirens, firemen (including Orfeo) running all over the place, Orfeo's first appearance being a scream from the middle of the audience and so on.

This version was set in a kind of Roman theatre, like the Colloseum, with, I am told, famous people from all periods, on three or four levels, represented in the choir. It was a big choir! If you think about it, the underworld, or heaven, or hell, being full to bursting with famous and not so famous people. I wonder where the guy who died earlier this week (you know who I mean) ended up. Do Muslims believe in heaven and hell, or is that more of a Christian thing?

The overture was oh so martial! I was a bit startled at that. Afterwards it settled down; I did notice the difference in this version (for Vienna) in the famous Euridice aria, and I also thought that the dance of the blessed spirits was a bit short (no repeats?). The dance of the furies was not all that furious - the grey spectrum colours did not exactly help, either.

The singing was awesome, though. David Daniels, the countertenor, had a lovely warm voice, unlike some of the more screechy countertenors heard in Vilnius, and Amor was great, too - also in the acting. Euridice seemed to have a very small role (does she have a bigger role in the Italian version?) so Kate Royal was a bit limited in being able to show off her full potential - but the scene of where she was trying to persuade her Orfeo to look at her was heartbreaking.

The dancing scene at the end, which went on rather longer than in the Vilnius (and Italian) version (but hey, what do you have a choreographer for as producer) was rather fun; much more colourful (in terms of clothes) than the rest of the opera, and rather funkily disco dancing to the sounds of baroque/classical music.

The show went on without a break. Next to me I had a German couple who were chatting a bit too much for my liking (quite apart from the at least 3 cellphones that went off during the performance) - it seems they thought it might have been Andreas Scholl as the countertenor, but it wasn't.


Nardo Poy said...

Hey, Pete - this version didn't include the dance of the Furies, although I know which number you're confusing it with.


Pete said...

Really??? Bit of a tame version then, no?

So you didn't play this number http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HaY3QnqwOI (someone trying out a new video camera, obviously a static one)???

But you certainly returned to the version I know at the moment when
they were screaming 'no' or whatever?

(I know Gluck wrote xx versions..)