...even though he ascribes them to some other curmudgeonly reviewer...
you know the show will be good.
And, indeed, having watched Il Trovatore on the Met's HD broadcast on Saturday, I heartily endorse the words. I said 'wow' to myself as the final notes were delivered.
Mind you I believe that Saturday's cast won't be repeated again this season except on a Met HD encore, so mark it on your calendars.
The cast was superb and, as far as I was concerned, sang superbly. If there was a weak singing link, I thought it might be Azucena. The performance of Dmitri Hvorotovsky in the middle of treatment for brain cancer was exceptional and he received yet more white roses at the curtain call. I warmed to Anna Netrebko as the opera went on though I couldn't help but think that, when they showed the montage of all her Met HD performances, she sounded best of all in the first: I Puritani. There was a lightness to her voice in that (very very brief) clip that sparkled. I did wonder about the conniptions that the Met's health and safety people must have had when it was suggested that she climb a rickety gate mid-aria in Act III. I also enjoyed Korean tenor Yonghoon Lee whose tall lithe body looked the part of his character. One reviewer disliked his acting though I saw nothing wrong with it. I wonder if perceptions differ depending on whether one views the action from the distant balcony compared with the HD close-ups?
This was the first time I have seen this opera which struck me as surprising in some ways. I was also surprised by the anvil chorus. I mean, I've heard the melody before but I never really knew what opera it came from. Even more surprising - though very pleasantly so - was the sight of some very nice beefcake own stage swinging those hammers in perfect time to the music. (And there was an african-american with even better abs just to the right of those in this pic - but I haven't been able to get a pic of him)
My last surprise of the day came when I left the theatre.
There was a line-up of popcorn to get into the theatre!
Of course, there were kids armed with the popcorn and the occasional parent as chaperone. I have no idea what movie was scheduled after our broadcast. I wondered what they must have thought seeing all these 'oldies' filing out and preventing them from getting in to see their movie.
ADDENDUM - wandering through the parterre box blog for reviews of Il Trovatore, one couldn't help notice that Stockholms Folkoperan are staging La Traviata in a brothel and with many of the singers are quite naked. Is this the first opera in which whipped cream has been spread on the heroine(?) I wonder?