Sunday, January 22, 2017

Romeo and Juliette at the Met - Part I

My Top Favourite Moments at the Show
Gounod's Romeo and Juliette
Photo: Met Website

1. Hearing the choreographer say that Diana Damrau was a charm to direct for she has such a natural sense of moving her body on the stage gave me a chance to really watch her movement during the second half. I can’t believe that I got such pleasure out of that.

2. I liked having the music be so familiar and wondered why, since this isn’t a piece I have ever studied. My best guess is that this music is in the background over the years to many stage productions of this play, as well as in many movies.

3. I thought the visit to the costume room of the Met was lovely – getting us ready for Rusalka which I am going to have to give my attention to, knowing nothing about it.

4. Diana Damrau’s singing was electric. On some of her notes I just had to hold my breath and savour the exquisite moment of hearing sound like that.  Talk about practising being in the moment.  Listening to the Met is surely that.

5. Every time someone from the audience yelled “Bravo”, for the performance of Vittorio Grigolo I thought about Bonnie and me telling David that yelling that from the audience is acceptable opera behaviour. And booing is also acceptable we told him. I think David practised a bit of that latter (the booing), which made me laugh. At any rate, every bravo was well deserved.

6. I also enjoyed seeing the bouquets of flowers tossed and wondered how long a person would have to practise with a bouquet that was perfectly tied and weighted so that it got to the stage floor without breaking apart.

7. Hearing the set designer at the intermission was also interesting. Namely, the fact that the company had tried to somewhat neutralize the specificity of the time and place and make it so that it could have happened anywhere / anytime. That gave me pause for thought in the second half.

8. Of course, number 7 above then let me look at the costuming in a different way. I didn’t get enough close-ups of the costuming. I left wanting more.

9. As well, the conductor praised the joys of working with the orchestra, I was thinking about the met chorus and how they have learned to use costume and movement in such a professional way. They support, never over-shadow and are such a joy to watch and hear.  So many of them crowded on the stage, but it never looked overcrowded.

10. Romeo (Grigolo) looked like he could climb any balcony. When asked about his dexterity he looked at Diana Damrau and said, “We have been working out. And we have been practising the choreography of every move for weeks.” And that, I guess is one of the reasons why I am in love with the Opera Series.

11. One more thing.  At the end I was waiting for those last few famous lines in the play, which weren't there, of course.  In spirit, yes.  But I could hear myself saying them:
"A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."
12.  If you haven't seen the show and are waiting for the encore, here is a good article on the ball, balcony, bed and tomb. 


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