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I went to see it! (at the cinema, or course..happy.png ). Anybody else...? I really liked Alden's production, and found the cast superb, led by Sondra Radvanovsky as Amelia, Marcelo Alvarez as King Gustave, and among all, wonderful Stephanie Blythe as Ulrica and super Divo Dmitry Hvorostovsky as Renato. Horovstovsky stole the show for me, and ended up blowing kisses to the audience during curtain calls.

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I am a fan of Horovstovsky's, but I found most of the other singers even more amazing.........in particular (no surprise I suppose) Stephanie Blythe. I loved the production. I have rarely seen a director move folks around on an opera stage so often, but at the same time with so much grace and "natural-ness". This can't be easy given Verdi's many "out of the blue" scorings of suddenly the chorus sings, then suddenly the chorus is gone. I thought the early 20th century setting worked extremely well -- the costumes in particular were riveting. I also liked the "it's all happening in Gustavo's mind" aspect to the production. A shout-out to Kathleen Kim too for playing Oscar with an over-the-top playfulness that took real courage (IMHO) throwing herself hook, line, and sinker into this staging. Had she done anything less, the part might well have floundered.

My one regret was the libretto.....it doesn't work very well for me....especially Gustavo who seems to me to be hopelessly naive. How many Jesus Christs can there be?? OTOH, the music is glorious.....I've rarely enjoyed Verdi music and singing as much as in this opera (my first time hearing/seeing it........I thank the universe for Met HD!).

P.S. Given the photo above, I do have to admit that Horovstovsky is a hunk.....(and this is coming from a dyed in the wool male hetrosexual smile.png).

P.P.S. Incidentially, what do others here think of Horovstovsky's interview during the intermission.....what the heck was he doing? Making some sort of joke I presume, but for the life of me I can't figure out what.

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She really drew me into her character - really making the most of every second.

I can never decide what about her I love more: her spectacular voice, or her powerful acting ability. She is a marvel.

As an aside....a couple of years ago I went to a "lecture" given during one of the "Ring" weeks here in Seattle. This particular program was an interview with Stephanie Blythe (who was singing Fricka and one of the Norns). There were maybe 500 (more?) people in the large auditorium type hall. Within 5 minutes she had us all eating out of her hand. It was like we were all sitting around in her living room shooting the breeze. Her naturalness, authenticity, and humor were remarkable. She even made it comfortable for her and us to kid around about what it was like for her to grow up fat (a word she was the first to use). She is so comfortable in her own skin!

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I've seen this production at the Met Opera twice. I thought the singing was quite wonderful, but I could not stand the production. This looked like a low budget production, and it looked even cheaper on the grand Met stage. Most of the vast stage is bare. I'm sure that the close up camera work that was probably done in the HD broadcast nicely masked this issue. Also, I thought the metaphor of Icarus flying too close to the sun was heavy handed and obvious. Kathleen Kim cavorting around the stage with the fake wings was laughable. She looked ridiculous. The cutesy vaudville routine later in the opera was over the top.

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I haven't seen it yet, because I was traveling the weekend it played in Vancouver, but I have a friend who hated the Met "Don Giovanni" sets: she said they reminded her of a Neapolitan slum. Having only seen it in HD, I had a different experience. I suspect the same is true of "Ballo." Since I've almost always been in the Family Circle, though, and I don't like using binoculars, I don't absorb much of sets and stagings anyway.

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The Don G. set looks lavish compared to Ballo. I'm getting used to cheap looking new productions at the Met, since they have become very, very common under the leadership of Gelb in these difficult economic times. New, however, doesn't mean improved. Gelb is spending money fast and furious to create all these new productions, and to run the HD program, but revenue is down. The Met is now resorting to selling bonds (see link below) to raise revenue. (Check out the line in the article where they refer to Hurricane Sandy as a cause of revenue dropping. The Met was only closed for two performances, I believe, due to the Hurricane.)


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The Don G. set looks lavish compared to Ballo.

I don't know how anyone could see the costumes in Ballo and not be impressed with the quality (or dare I say it: lavishness) of the materials and workmanship. True, the sets were mimimal, but I don't need an Aida every time.

The cutesy vaudeville routine later in the opera was over the top.

As always, art is in the eye of the beholder smile.png......I loved that "vaudeville routine", and I thought it had to be staged as "over the top" to work; furthermore, I thought the routine fit well the rather strange mixed feeling that Verdi put, quite intentionally, into this opera (part tragic and part comedy....both well expressed in the music itself).

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