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I saw the "Les Troyens" Met in HD broadcast this morning. Not exactly an opera that exalts relationships, yikes.

Doug Varone did the choreography, and the dancers really earn their keep in this one: there's lots of dancing, particularly in the orchestra interludes. In general, I think he was more successful in adagio; the movement to the more upbeat tempos tended to look more repetitive, especially when done in unison.

In the only respite from painful relationships, the scene in Berlioz's Act IV where Dido and Aeneas are temporarily happy, Aeneas' son is playful and content, and Iopas sings his gorgeous aria, there is an ensemble intro, and then a solo by a man danced so beautifully, I couldn't take my eyes off of him. His solo was followed by a pas de deux and then more ensemble dancing.

When he and his partner took their bows at the final curtain, he looked really familiar, but I couldn't place him. When the credits rolled, I realized he was Eric Otto, the youngest of the Otto boys (after David, William, and Phil). Phil Otto taught an adult/open class on Saturday mornings at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School during the last years he danced and while he ran one of the PNB outreach programs after he retired from the stage. One day, his youngest brother, Eric, came to visit and took class, and watching it was all we could do to refrain from jawdrop.gif . He was such a lovely dancer, of medium height and a more slender build than his very tall, broad-shouldered brothers. He would be in his early thirties now, I think; Phil was probably a little older when he left Seattle, but now I know why Eric Otto looked so familiar.

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I thought most of the choreography was tedious. Susan Graham was wonderful, as was tenor Hymmel. (Don't have my book handy, probably mis-spelled his name.) I'm curious to hear reactions to Debbie Voigt from people who saw it in movie theaters. I saw this twice in the Big House, and Debbie often sounded poor on both nights. I think her deficiencies may not have been so obvious in the movie theaters.

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I wouldn't go to "Les Troyens" just to see the choreography, or I'd be very disappointed, but Otto was terrific.

The tenor is Bryan Hymel; here's a short article about him:


On the HD, I thought Voigt sounded thin and lacking pathos. I know HD's are miked closer to the singers than I ever sit in the house, but I found her Brunnhilde ("Die Walkure") and her Minnie quite touching on HD. She was missing the emotion in this one, I think.

I loved the costumes and the main frame of the set.

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