Met Party

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
lennygoran
Posts: 12165
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Met Party

Post by lennygoran » Mon May 08, 2017 7:26 pm

Sounds good! Regards, Len :D
Review: Opera Matters, and the Met Just Threw a Party to Prove It

By ANTHONY TOMMASINI MAY 8, 2017

Every once in a while, an institution gets a chance to hit a reset button. In the midst of myriad challenges — struggling attendance, changing entertainment habits, donor fatigue, looming labor negotiations — that’s what the Metropolitan Opera did on Sunday evening.

In a five-hour gala concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of its palatial theater at Lincoln Center, with a captive audience of its most devoted patrons, the company essentially took the opportunity to change its narrative. Enlisting three dozen star singers, excerpts from 29 operas and a stage full of vintage film footage and uncanny projected evocations of classic productions, the Met made a case for its centrality — not just artistically but also civically, not just in the past but also in the future. It was a long evening, but the stakes could hardly be higher: This, the performance seemed to say to an auditorium full of donors, is why we matter.

It was a party with a message, but a party nevertheless. A real bash.

And it felt like a homecoming: Whatever its flaws, this house truly has been a home for both artists and audiences from around the world.
Photo
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus in Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra,” which was the opening-night production on Sept. 16, 1966, when the opera first performed in its new home at Lincoln Center. Credit Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

The performers on Sunday included cherished veterans like Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming and James Morris; artists at the peaks of their careers, like Anna Netrebko and Joyce DiDonato; and younger singers on the brink of greatness, like Vittorio Grigolo, Pretty Yende and Angela Meade. Three maestros shared conducting duties: the music director emeritus James Levine, who made his Met debut just five years after the new house opened and has been its most influential artistic leader; the youthful and immensely gifted Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who will succeed Mr. Levine in 2020; and Marco Armiliato, one of the most active (with over 400 performances) on the Met’s roster of guests.

Thanks to the inventive work of the designer Julian Crouch, the performance was a de facto production. Most of the singers wore costumes; using elaborate projections, by 59 Productions, Mr. Crouch created scenic designs that evoked imagery from notable past and current Met stagings. The evening also touched on the early history of the house, through videos that showed President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the groundbreaking ceremony for Lincoln Center in 1959, as well as a charming look at the painter Marc Chagall working on the murals that grace the front of the house.

The company avoided mention of the complex issues surrounding the origins of Lincoln Center. When it was conceived, the center was presented as a visionary plan to clear out what some urban planners considered blighted Manhattan neighborhoods to make room for a cultural oasis. That these neighborhoods were largely populated by poor people of color who would have to relocate to make room for the Met and its sister buildings was not an overriding concern, and for decades — at least until an extensive redevelopment a few years ago — the complex seemed like a cultural fortress closed to its surroundings.

But in any event, on Sunday the company was in party mode. The evening opened with Mr. Nézet-Séguin conducting Leonard Bernstein’s overture to “West Side Story,” as a video montage showed decrepit buildings being removed, and animated projections depicted the halls of Lincoln Center rising in an uplifting surge.

This was a night to put questions aside and celebrate the Met with great music. Among the many inspired performances were a few disappointments — including some artists that the Met is banking on who did not sound their best, among them Kristine Opolais, who sang “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s “Tosca,” which she is to star in next season. The emotional high point came with an unscheduled performance. Peter Gelb, the company’s general manager, announced from the stage that the Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky had “defied all the odds and the gods to be here tonight.”

Mr. Hvorostovsky, 54, is being treated for a brain tumor; in December he announced that he would stop performing in staged opera, and he was shaky on his feet when he walked out. The audience broke into a long, welcoming ovation as the beaming Mr. Hvorostovsky blew kisses to his fans and the orchestra. He sang the stormy “Cortigiani” aria from Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” and the distinctive dark colorings of his sound and his communicative intensity came through in a valiant performance.


There were many other highlights. It was fitting to hear a stirring chorus from Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra,” the opera that inaugurated the house on Sept. 16, 1966. It received poor reviews and has slipped into near obscurity, but the time may have come to give the piece new consideration with a contemporary staging. The Met chorus sounded terrific. And it was moving to see video clips of Leontyne Price, who created the role of Cleopatra, both in archival footage from the night of the premiere and, more recently, recalling this milestone in her incomparable career.

Among other memorable performances, the superb tenor Javier Camarena brought ardent sound and winning charm to “Ah! mes amis” from Donizetti’s “La Fille du Régiment,” fearlessly dispatching the aria’s nine high Cs. This showpiece hasn’t been sung so well on the Met stage since Luciano Pavarotti owned the part in the early 1970s. Ms. Yende, who sang beautifully in a scene from Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” with the baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, also brought melting warmth and tenderness to the duet from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” (“Bess, you is my woman now”), joined by the formidable bass-baritone Eric Owens. (The Met clearly has two leads ready to go for a revival, which is overdue.)

Ms. Netrebko was at her blazing best as Verdi’s Lady Macbeth, and ravishing in “Un bel dì” from Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.” Susan Graham and Matthew Polenzani gave an entrancing account of the moonlit love music for Dido and Aeneas from Berlioz’s “Les Troyens.” It was good for the gala to venture into the Baroque period, with the mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and the countertenor David Daniels, in a sublime duet from Handel’s “Giulio Cesare.” And the program rightly touched on 21st-century opera with a scene from Thomas Adès’s “The Tempest,” performed tenderly by Ben Bliss and Isabel Leonard.

The second half of the program began both grandly and playfully, with the Met chorus singing the music for the entrance of the guests into the minstrels’ hall from Wagner’s “Tannhäuser,” as projections showed Met patrons entering both the “old Met” (at Broadway and 39th Street) and the new one at Lincoln Center. And the celebration ended with the triumphant Act II finale of Verdi’s “Aida,” with images of earthen Egyptian temples morphing into the theater’s grand front columns.

Why not? This was a night to party.



https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/arts ... front&_r=0

Len_Z
Posts: 238
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:47 am
Location: New York, NY, USA

Re: Met Party

Post by Len_Z » Tue May 09, 2017 5:02 am

I was there. Don't believe this article. I'm not sure why Oppolais has been singled out as a weak link, to my ears most singing left a lot to be desired. I would say that only Yoncheva was really good as Mimi; the rest sounded old, tired, pathetic. Netrebko as Cio-Cio-San, Domingo and some others were absolutely atrocious. A lot of great today's stars were conspicuously missing.

The orchestra and the choir were excellent as always, though, and the costumes were gorgeous, but most of them belonged to old productions we will never see on stage again.

A rather sad affair, imho.

lennygoran
Posts: 12165
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Met Party

Post by lennygoran » Tue May 09, 2017 5:47 am

Len_Z wrote:
Tue May 09, 2017 5:02 am
A rather sad affair, imho.
Len so sorry to read this. Regards, Len

lennygoran
Posts: 12165
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Met Party

Post by lennygoran » Thu May 11, 2017 7:28 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Mon May 08, 2017 7:26 pm
Sounds good!
As a followup the NYTimes has a slideshow with 33 photos of party events. Regards, Len

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2017/0 ... s/end.html

barney
Posts: 2484
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Met Party

Post by barney » Fri May 12, 2017 3:12 pm

It seems only 15 of the 33 photos were the Met party. And many of those were donors/supporters/society people. Nothing wrong with that , of course! I'm always interested to gawp. Some of them have more money than sense.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest