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Subject: SYNTHETIC MOZART - IDOMENEO FROM THE MET OPERA
From: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 25 Mar 2017 15:18:14 -0700
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Well this isn't exactly a review, I can't review today's Idomeneo since we
only stayed for the first act.

Let me start from the beginning. Today's Idomeneo HD was our first attempt
to see one of these broadcasts in Los Angeles. No problem with the theater,
the Cinemark 18 & XD, just eight minutes away from our condo! We had
reserved seats (a standard luxury in Los Angeles, but they did charge $5
extra on Fandango for the privilege) and the sound and picture were perfect
(although they did have to bring in people from the non-reserved auditorium
where they were having technical issues...

The crowd in LA was as depressingly old as the one we left in NJ, I doubt
there were many people younger than us there.

There is a show from England called "Humans" (based on a Swedish series)
 who look and perform like humans but without emotions.

Today it was as if the "Synths" had taken over the stage of the
Metropolitan Opera What I heard in the first act was well drilled bland
singing that was as if it was Pasteurized. There was no flavor or color or
expression though at times Polenzani (a tenor I usually admire) almost
managed to sound eloquent, but he is, IMHO, overparted, Idomeneo is NOT a
lyric role and if he had to sing in this opera, he probably should have
been cast as Idamante.

Those drilled singers, is it that they all lack ability and imagination or
was it Levine over polishing them to a fare thee well?  All I know is I
have never heard such bland colorless singing in Idomeneo not ever, not
even when it was badly sung (for instance by Richard Lewis) and this
performance didn't come close to giving the type of vocalism that Upshaw,
Von Otter, Vaness, Domingo, Pavarotti, Hunt, Graham and many more besides
gave us in the not so distant past.

  In that first act, I did not hear a single trill which is  MUST in this
music. I didn't hear it from Sierra, nor from Coote, and nor from Van Den
Heever.  Idomeneo is an Opera Seria and that means it is supposed to be a
highly  florid opera and ornaments and trills, intricate coloratura is a
must. But I heard none of that in that first act. Polenzani, a tenor I
greatly admire, did manage to be eloquent at times, but he seemed
over-parted and I fear for how the rest must have gone. I would think he
would be much better suited to the role of Idamante.

I have seen this production many times, but I don't remember seeing the
singers pointlessly flail around in swimming gestures (Sierra was
particularly egregious in this regard) quite so much as happened in the
first act today.

This performance got a rave review in the New York Times, has he never
heard Idomeneo before? The camera panning the Met Opera auditorium seemed
to show a half empty house and no wonder...

James Camner

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