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Nice article. Thanks, Mme. Hermine. Maybe not the most spontaneous of encores.

And, in this case, prepare for. Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said on Tuesday that he had asked Mr. Flórez weeks ago whether he would be prepared to repeat the aria, if the audience demanded. Mr. Flórez had already done so at other houses, including the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where last year he became the first to violate an encore ban since 1933.

Mr. Flórez agreed to Mr. Gelb’s request, and the orchestra and chorus were warned. A system was established. Mr. Gelb kept an open line on the phone in his box to the stage manager. After the explosive reaction he gave the stage manager the go-ahead. The manager activated a podium light for the conductor, Marco Armiliato.

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I was fortunate to receive a ticket for the dress rehearsal in the orchestra 4th row center. I never had such a great seat for the opera nor the ballet before. WOW how intimate!

This was wonderful production with Natalie Dessay as Marie La fille du Regiment in a fantastic coloratura comedic role and of course the French just rolled off her tongue. Juan Domingo Florz was also fabulous as her a lover Tonio. Donald Maxwell handled the role of Hortensius flawlessly.

I had never seen or heard the opera before and I found it charming. The staging was right up there with some the new Met Opera productions with the sets made from huge maps in the first act and invisible walls with door, window and picture frames defining them in the second. The met does some clever staging of classic operas, such as Barber of Seville, Madame Butterfly, Zauberflote to name a few. Unlike classic ballet, opera seems to lend itself to new stagings.

The audience loved this opera and I am certain this will be a another big success for the Met. I heard Ms Dessay interviewed by Leonard Loapte on WNYC and she recounted how she came to opera via acting when she was told she had a good voice and should pursue opera. Good suggestion. We benefit! She can act and her comedic timely was delightful. Her voice is not powerful but she nailed it.

I don't think there are many comedic operas but this one ranks with Barber of Seville. They were of course doing an HD run through at the dress rehearsal and it should be wonderful on the large screen or even small screen HD TV. I was fortunate to be close enough not to need binocs and the only disappointment was that being that close I could see that Ms Dessay was not the young girl she was supposed to be as Marie, despite her blocking and acting. I loved the two of them JDF and Ms Dessay. JDF is very charming!

This one will be coming around again in the future if the audience response is any indication. What a delightful surprise and way to spend a Friday afternoon. And how lucky I was that my neighbor who needed a ride to the theater and company! Now if I could only win the lotto....

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I saw the Sat matinee live- no encore, but Florez did take a few bows. I have the benefit of being old enough to remember the Sutherland/Pavarotti performances. The current production is equally pleasurable, and the singing, although obviously different, wonderful. Dessay does not have La Stupenda's power, but the coloratura was just effortless and gorgeous. Of course her acting was full of fun. Not sure why the production was updated to ?WWI, but let's face it, the story makes no sense anyway.

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I saw this in a movie theater (HD-Live) yesterday. I also remember -- both from the stage and from the later video -- Sutherland and Pavarotti. They were grand opera singers horsing around, having fun ... and singing gloriously. I loved it, but can't imagine watching the video again after seeing the Pelly production with Dessay and Florez. The singing, acting, and physical comedy may even have benefited from the intimacy and intrusiveness of the cameras.

The new Laurent Pelly production has life, is sung marvellously (to my untutored ears), and is actually very and genuinely funny. With Sutherland and Pavarotti, one enjoyed the opportunity to see big (in several senses) stars in absurd costumes letting their hair down. Few laughs came spontaneously from the belly. The audience seemed to be laughing more out of respect for and happy complicity with the stars than for anything actually occuring on stage.

This was a production from a different aesthetic world. For me and my companions, and for the audience around us, it worked beyond our dreams. The music took on new life,a nd not only in the witty sections. The genuine pathos in several numbers came through. The rewritten spoken parts were witty in English and even more so (from what I could pick up) in French. (Was I right to hear, instead of "le jour de gloire est arrive" from the Marseillaise , "Le jour de gloire est loin d'ici"?) (Or Felicity Palmer, Marquise de Berkenfield, grudgingly responding to a comment that she ought to be "jumping with joy, say "Je saut. Je saut" instead of the duller "I will. I will." in the English subtitles. She was so obviously NOT jumping with joy.)

At our local south Florida theater, the crowd arrived very early to get the best seats. Both theaters were pretty much full an hour before the curtain. Overhearing conversations, I had the sense that this as an audience of regular -- though not necessarily obsessive or hyper-knowledgeable -- opera goers. The laughs were frequent and loud when called for. At certain moments, for instance Florez's second act aria, you could have heard a pin drop, everyone was so attentive. There was frequent applause, both for the singing, for the production effects, and -- at the curtain -- for the conductor. Imagine: applauding a performance on screen. That's one of the wonders of "live" performance.

It is beyond excellent that the Met is making these performances available to high school audiences around the city. Bravo, Met.

More good news, there will be 11 HD-Live performances next season, including a Monday evening broadcast (North America only) of the opening night Gala, featuring Renee Fleming in scenes from Traviata, Manon, and Capriccio (Sept 22), and Orfeo ed Euridice with the Mark Morris choreography (Jan 24).

Also, Salome with Mattila (Oct. 11), Dr. Atomic (Nov. 8), La Damnation de Fast (Nov. 22), Fleming in Thais (Dec. 20), La Rondine with Gheorghiui and Alagna (Jan. 10), Netrebko and Villazon in Lucia (Feb. 7), the Minghella production of Madama Butterfly (March 7), Dessay and Florez back in La Sonnambula (March 21), and Elena Granca in La Cenerentola (May 9).

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Peer Gelb knows his marketing. There have already been PBS broadcasts (and dvds) of select peformances, and a number have bae4en or are being reprised in the theaters (for instance, La Boheme, coming up).

I 'd still urge everyone who can't make it to the Met itself to give this a try. The sound, of course, is not the same. The mikes create a homogenization of sound (especially volume) that is definitely artificial, rather like in a movie, without the lipsynching. I suspect there is some kind of body-miking. When Dessay hit her chest with her hand during the action, you could hear a definite vibration.

However -- and this is a BIG "however" -- there is something strongly "alive" about the feel of the performance and the way the audience responds. It has spontaneity, the risk of failure. The amazing accuracy of the camera work and miking makes you forget that you're a thousand-plus miles away. In fact, because you come so close to the action, and get a chance to go backstage and meet the artists as well, HD-Live even has a few advantages over being in the theater.

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I was there last night and after Florez encored "Ah mes amis" he was giving a well-deserved standing ovation. The first time he sang it the people next to me were like, "If we keep clapping he has to repeat it!" It was really a wonderful moment of the audience acknowledging a performer so generous. Although Florez's voice is very phonogenic and he looks nice on video, he is one of those performers better seen in the house, where you can just sense the audience's adoration for him. It's rare to see such an obvious adoration for a performer. I don't see it with much bigger stars, like Anna Netrebko or Renee Fleming. Not that they don't have a following, but to go to a Florez performance with the audience screaming "DIEGO! DIEGO!" feels very special.

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JDF has such a squeaky clean almost young boy look to him and a clean demeanor which seems to endear the audience to him and of course his singing is great.

Anna Netrebko and Renee Flemming have some of that prima donna attitude which the audience senses and in a way are looking for them to make a mistake of some sort. Yeah it's caddy stuff, but it's hard to be a "diva" and be "innocent" the JDF comes off.

Talent goes to their heads, doesn't it?

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