Joyce DiDonato, Placido Domingo, David Daniels, Luca Pisaroni and the Metropolitan Opera and Chorus, William Christie conducting
This baroque pastiche opera, premiered at the Met last New Year's Eve, is a delightful treat for any opera lover, and would serve as a great introduction to opera, since it's in English and features a top-notch cast and design!
The opera takes the plots of Shakespeare's Tempest and the lovers of A Midsummer Night's Dream and conflates them into a rollicking story of shipwreck, mistaken identities, revenge, longing, and finally reconciliation and love. DiDonato's Sycorax is a tour de force, ripping off revenge arias and playing them to the hilt, but with impeccable musciality. If you're a fan of DiDonato, this is a must have. Danielle Di Niesse was a discovery for me in the role of Ariel--her beautiful soprano fills the stage with electricity, and she plays both the serious and comic sides of the magical sprite perfectly. Placido Domingo plays Neptune, the sea God, in a great small role. The rest of the cast is pitch-perfect and strongly cast. It IS a bit long, but with a cast this great, that hardly registers. The role of Prospero is also sung by a countertenor, which is a rarity (since Baroque operas, which use them the most, are rarely seen), but last year's Met season gave us two big countertenor showpieces (here and in Rodelinda, with Renee Fleming, also on DVD).
This is a magical production that is definitely worth its space on your Opera Shelf. I didn't notice any problems with picture or sound with it being on DVD; it was very clear in both respects.
"Eyes on Opera" is an Orange County cultural organization dedicated to the advancement of opera through recorded and live solo performances, group discussions, educational outreach and field trips. Membership is free with donations gratefully accepted to cover expenses. Regular meetings and presentations are scheduled for the third Saturday of each month at the Seymour Senior Center in Chapel Hill.
The group was founded in January, 2007 by my wife, Victoria Windler, who passed away after a long battle with cancer in April of 2009. Over the years, she collected more than 500 opera CDs and DVDs that line our walls and bend our bookshelves! Her love of life and opera was a beacon to all who knew her! Enjoy one of Vicky's all time favorites that she loved to sing along with: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6nESuuLYss&feature=pl...
This group is continuing as a living memorial to Vicky's passion for opera and life.
The Meetup originally met at our house outside of Chapel Hill which it quickly outgrew and now gathers monthly in the Orange County Seymour Senior Center's new auditorium to enjoy a DVD presentation of a major opera production with other opera lovers. We thank the staff of the center for their continued support.
We meet once a month on the 3rd Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.Feel free to bring a brown bag lunch to supplement the coffee, cold drinks and snacks we provide. We take a 20 minute break at the middle of the opera. And if you'd like to bring some fresh baked cookies or cakes, you will make many new friends!
All residents (and friends) of Orange County are welcome to the monthly presentations and are encouraged to add their comments and insights at the breaks and conclusion. As Vicky said..."(this group) would be accessible to both beginners who would want to learn more about opera and "fanatics".
We welcome your comments and suggestions for operas to be shown and other opera-related events that the group would enjoy. And we look forward to seeing you at our next Meetup!
---------- The Latest News from all of us at the Opera Meetup ----------
Victoria Windler’s Eyes on Opera will be transitioning from their popular DVD presentations held at the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center in Chapel Hill to promoting theMet's Live in HDpresentations at Brier Creek and live NC Opera programs in Raleigh in 2014-15.
The last DVD presentation, Amahl and the Night Visitors, will be held onSaturday, December 20 from 10am – 2pm. Do join us for this final presentation! All of us thank you for supporting what will be our more than 90 DVD presentations since January 2007 and hope you will join with other Opera Meetup members at Brier Creek's Regal Cinemas for the Met's Live in HDperformances.