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Subject: Rusalka at the Met / FT review
From: janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:janosG <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 5 Feb 2017 16:48:15 -0800

text/plain (40 lines)

[and Atlanta is ahead *21*-0 !!!!!]

Financial Times / Arts / Feb. 5m 2017

Metropolitan Opera, New York

	Dvoràk’s lovely, poignant, melodic fairy-tale had its premiere in Prague back in 1901. The mighty Met finally discovered its fragile charms in 1993.

	At that time the company utilised a much traveled, essentially realistic production staged by Otto Schenk. The magnetic protagonist, half woman and half water-sprite, served as a grateful vehicle for the fine Slovak diva Gabriela Benacková, eventually succeeded by Renée Fleming at her voluptuous best.

	Still, the challenge survived only 27 performances, the last in 2014.  Audiences remained sparse, and such was the case on Thursday when +Rusalka+ returned in a semi-surreal production directed by Mary Zimmerman and designed by Daniel Ostling. Crucially, often cleverly and always intricately, it was  choreographed by Austin McCormick[[cq]].

	It could be convincingly argued that a new serving of this sardonic slice of late romanticism represented needless extravagance. Still, the extravagance turned out to be an intriguing, if sometimes slightly perverse, on this occasion.

	Zimmerman chose to play the action in a surreal box-set, a stage within the stage. Baroque in form, it harboured a massive tree. The gnarled wood provided a convenient resting, ultimately dying, place for the brave water-sprite who surrenders everything she owns to unite with an ultimately callous mortal. While the pretty milieu tended to contradict the gushing score, it did make ritualistic sense.

	Kristine Opolais conveyed the heroine’s essential innocence with properly subdued rapture and, a few harsh climaxes notwithstanding, sang radiantly. Eric Owens bumbled and grumbled imposingly as her paternal water-gnome. Despite royal robes, this monarch almost made one overlook his dwelling in a lake that resembled a sunken bath-tub.  Jamie Barton gobbled the lusty-nasty-witchy flailings of Ježibaba. Katarina Dalayman did what can be done with the unrewarding plaints of the Foreign Princess, and Brandon Jovanovich nearly made the resident lecher sympathetic.

	Mark Elder sustained propulsion and pathos in the pit with much authority, even urgency. The great Met orchestra responded accordingly.


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