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.
The Chapel Hill Meetup 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.
We meet once a month on the 3rd Saturday from 1 pm to 5 pm.
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 we say "this group will 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!