Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Herr Wozzeck Goes To The Opera!

Hi guys. Yes, I know I didn't have a review for a new release last week. Well... to be honest, none of the new releases were terribly interesting to me at all. Most of the hold-overs were stuff I really didn't have time for, and the only thing I could've found intriguing about the new movies this past weekend was Gabourey Sidibe finally getting herself into a big Hollywood movie, although the fact that her part is an incredibly tiny part wasn't enough to convince me to see said movie.

Besides, I had other plans. Why?

Well, for those of you who follow Fathom Events, then you'll know that the Metropolitan Opera broadcasted a production of Richard Wagner's Siegfried last Saturday at around 12:00 EST. What's even better is that the Regal multiplex I go to for a vast majority of my film reviews was one of the locations of the broadcast. So I attempted to make my way to that to see the opera at the movies.

So I thought that today I'd comment on the experience, and my impressions of the production from one average every-day moviegoer to the next.

So, the experience? Well, it's Wagner opera, so I was there for a long time. If you thought Avatar was a long movie? Forget it: the broadcast of Siegfried lasted about five hours and twenty minutes, including the intermission features the Met broadcasts usually include. So that's a long time to be sitting in the theater: thankfully, also due to the fact that it was opera, we didn't have to stay in the theater for the whole five and a half hours. At the intermissions, there were fifteen minutes between the ends of each act and the intermission feature that would play before the start of the next act, so we all had fifteen minutes to walk around and do stuff between acts. Good thing, too.

It was also a fairly strange experience: literally, I think I was the youngest person at that theater for the broadcast. Being a frequent opera-goer at one time in my life, I can tell you that it's nothing unusual if you're at the opera in a theater or an opera house, but if you're in the opera at the movies where you've been used to seeing young people all the time? Now that is surreal. Though it's also funny that going to the opera at the movies has been the only time I've been able to get away with drinking Orange Fanta in the theater while the show is going on, but that is another story entirely.

As for the production itself? Well... putting on my critical hat for a second, I can tell you that the broadcast itself was excellent. The singing was excellent (especially from Jay Hunter Morris as the title role, who stepped into one of opera's most difficult roles at basically the last minute (Which, oddly enough, is a lot more common for the Met than you'd think. And not just recently, either: its entire history is filled with mishaps that occurred at some point or another.) and still managed to sing and act as an incredibly convincing Siegfried), and everyone involved brought their best to the table. I wish the projection hadn't been as dark as it was in the broadcast I saw it at, as there were a few times when it was needlessly difficult to tell what was set up in the set from time to time. However, I can also tell you that Robert LaPage's production is something you have to see, even if you're not an opera buff. Most productions of any of the operas in Wagner's Ring tend to fall victim to the fact that they are typically operas in which things are incredibly dynamic as far as stage directions go, but LaPage's production is both visually stunning and brings an element of dynamism into the operas that very few productions have ever managed to do. Overall, it was an excellent broadcast all around.

And it was a great time, for me being an opera-goer who went to the movies for this one.

So... that's that. I went to the opera, and crazy times were had for all.

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