|Roméo et Juliette
||[Jan. 11th, 2017|01:53 am]
I'm not really clear on why the Met replaced its hardly worn Roméo et Juliette, or why they did it by importing an eight-year-old production that wasn't much loved in its previous outings (and is already on DVD, but so was the Guillaume Tell), but here it is, a "new" Roméo et Juliette. Vittorio Grigolo and Diana Damrau are plenty good reason to put it on whatever the production, although it has to be said that Grigolo puts everyone else to shame by having many times more voice.
As Bartlett Sher opera productions go, it's fairly good. Which isn't really to say that it's good, just that he's set the bar low that a relatively do-no-harm effort is comparatively outstanding. His Otello last season was excessively mobile and ponderous; this production's set is absolutely unmoving but really could use some change. Though it does make a sort of sense: he states the opening choruses—the same scene-setting prelude as in Shakespeare—as a painting, then clears the foreground (the people) but not the background as he fills in the tale. (So then the beginning is really the end point, since the opera ends with the lovers' deaths?) Hrm, maybe it's better than I thought. And he does handle the chorus staging well, which I seem to recall the last production didn't.
In any case, he manages not to overshadow the singing. Grigolo could certainly sing his way out from under anything; some of the rest would have more trouble in a cumbersome production. Sure to make a great HD, with the Damrau/Grigolo wattage. Later in the winter a different cast will try their hands at it.