Sunday, 15 April 2012

Saturday Night in New York

Our season is now in full swing and Saturday night we were full - both gîtes occupied. We don’t usually organise anything for Saturday evenings, as we are rather limited by the arrival times of our guests, but we had all our fingers and toes crossed yesterday that our guests would arrive before 5 o’clock, because we wanted to go to New York for the evening. Our guests arrived at 3 o’clock, so we managed to get to the New York Metropolitan Opera House in time to see the evening’s performance of La Traviata.

Our connection to New York was via a live HD video link from the Met itself, beamed into the panoramic cinema screen at Chalon-sur-Saône. While we waited for the performance to begin, the screen showed images of the inside of the opera house, looking towards the stage as if we were in one of the circles, watching the people in the stalls finding their seats. What a magnificent place the opera house it is. Then - lights down - action.

As the orchestra struck up the overture, Violetta appeared in a red cocktail dress and sloped across the stage and I thought oh no a modern version and my heart sank. A combination of why can’t we just listen to the overture without this distraction and why can’t they stick to the “proper” version was going through my head. Having said that, I was very quickly immersed in Willy Decker’s version and I was most impressed with what he had actually done with it all. He managed to capture the essence of the story in a modern(ish) setting, leaving the décor very simple and introducing some spooky elements. He upgraded the doctor to a star position by doubling him as a sort of Grim Reaper figure who hovered around whenever Violetta had a downturn and, in all but the last scene, there was a huge clock ticking away the last hours of her life. Although I did find it odd that he totally downgraded all other parts to almost nothing.

Natalie Dessay (Violetta) had a rather shaky start in Act 1 vocally, but she regrouped in Acts 2 and 3 in which she did a superb job and Matthew Polenzani as Alfredo and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as his father did a stunning job throughout. Although Violetta is supposed to be the star of the show, it was Alfredo all the way for me, he sang beautifully, he acted beautifully and I was totally convinced at all stages that he was Alfredo.

Then, after a wonderful evening in one of the world’s best opera houses, we just had to drive half an hour and we were home. This won’t be the last time we are going to New York for the evening.

Our gite Website

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...