||[Feb. 7th, 2017|01:28 am]
There's some nice music-making going on in the Met's new Rusalka, which is reason enough to see it. Kristine Opolais sounds better live than she did on the radio last week, and Brandon Jovanovich, Eric Owens and Jamie Barton also acquit themselves well. None of it is really earth-shattering, but it's all more than good enough. Mary Zimmerman's new production is visually engaging, but also deeply perplexing. It's all on a stage on the stage—we're looking not just at a setting but a setting in another theatre—but then for the third act when everything has turned out badly for the characters of the fairy tale, the theatre is ruined as well. In the first two acts it feels a bit like a way of ducking responsibility for the story, but then the story onstage onstage cracks the onstage fourth wall. The space is used well and there's plenty to look at, but it's also distractingly puzzling. But, a good piece and a good performance. Not the most ringing of endorsements, but really it's a fine night at the opera.
(Consulting the article in the Playbill abut the production, it seems it's not so much a stage within a stage as that that's how Rusalka's forest world is depicted, so of course it's shattered when she returns. Which is just stage-within-a-stage from the other side: she pictures her world as a stage, so that's where we see her. I'm not sure if it's much less perplexing that way. Maybe it'd help if she spent the prelude straightjacketed on the stage apron or something. And it still didn't play that way.)