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Subject: Nozze @ the Met
From: Leslie Barcza <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Leslie Barcza <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 30 Oct 1998 09:49:17 EST
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It's a funny coincidence: I've just seen a Figaro in Toronto done in
a good translation, with a 30 member orchestra, in a small hall
(about 1000 seats) that clocked in at exactly 3 hours.  As
preparation my daughter and I watched the Ponnelle video (Raimondi,
Battle, Vanness, vonStade, Allen, and of course Levine) from the
1980's.  While I love that video, it suffered from the comparison to
Toronto's Opera Atelier.   For anyone with the time, the production
is still on, until November 1st. Those who would like to be moved at
the end of the opera, without directorial gimmicks but simply through
scholarship and musicianship -- should try to see/hear it.

Earlier this week I posted some comments about the Toronto production
because I think I was frustrated: it's much closer to the ideal than
what usually passes for Figaro in a big opera house; but oh, to hear
the Toronto production with a stellar cast!  I wish we had some of
the Met singers, in THIS Toronto production with Tafelmusik orchestra
behind them. A week later I can't shake whole huge passages out of my
head, heard for the first time with clarity, and a wit that is
otherwise buried in Levine's reading (referring to the video).

I think the boredom at the Met production that people spoke of is
partly in comparison to the Ponnelle production, which at least gave
the opera an ideological and inter-personal edge.  But ultimately
this opera is mis-matched with such a big house, and orchestra.  Does
New York have an appropriate venue for an "authentic" production?  Or
isn't there sufficient interest? And then there's the political
angle, too: I can't help thinking that the Met is part of the
romantic tradition, both in terms of sound and in terms of size, and
has some real limits that aren't often acknowledged.

    Leslie Barcza in Toronto    [log in to unmask]

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