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Met brings down the curtain on the 2023/24 season with Gluck, gratitude and glitter – Seen and Heard Worldwide

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United StatesUnited States Gluck, Orfeo ed Euridice: Soloists, Refrain and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera / J. David Jackson (conductor). Metropolitan Opera, New York, 8.6.2024. (RP)

Elena Villalón (Amore) and Anthony Roth Costanzo (Orfeo) © Ken Howard/Met Opera

Manufacturing and Choreographer – Mark Morris
Units – Allen Moyer
Costumes – Isaac Mizrahi
Lighting – James F. Ingalls
Refrain grasp – Donald Palumbo

Orfeo – Anthony Roth Costanzo
Amore – Elena Villalón
Euridice – Ying Fang

The Metropolitan Opera ended the 2023/24 season with Mark Morris’s pleasant manufacturing of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. It was additionally the event to have fun Donald Palumbo’s departure after seventeen years because the Met’s refrain grasp. And if that wasn’t sufficient purpose to rejoice, the Met was packed on a wonderful June afternoon.

Morris is finest often called an American dancer, choreographer and director, however he has dabbled a good bit in opera as nicely. He has choreographed productions for the Met, New York Metropolis Opera, English Nationwide Opera and the Royal Opera Home, Covent Backyard, amongst others. As a director, his work contains Purcell’s King Arthur for the English Nationwide Opera and this manufacturing of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice from 2007, which he additionally choreographed.

By their very nature, myths are common. The story of Orpheus along with his lute coaxing the Furies to let him cross via the Gates of Hades to retrieve his spouse Euridice from the lifeless has impressed composers for hundreds of years. Orpheus can return with Euridice provided that he neither seems at her nor explains why he can’t achieve this. Being mere mortals, they’re fated to fail.

[centre front] Anthony Roth Costanzo (Orfeo) © Ken Howard/Met Opera

If one may bottle Morris’s magic contact in tinkering with time and place whereas remaining true to the spirit of a piece, the opera world can be a far happier place. Orpheus is envisioned as a country-western singer in black with a guitar slung over his shoulder. Amore is a spunky child with little pink wings who descends from the sky, whereas Euridice is a imaginative and prescient of loveliness in a flowing white robe.

The set itself is 2 huge models through which the refrain sits in rows. The parts are rearranged to create the Gates of Hades and different locales. Reversed, they’re remodeled into the darkish labyrinth via which Orpheus leads Euridice and breaks his vow. It’s a splendidly foreboding, glittery and black house, in addition to a bit magical.

At first of the opera, Orpheus appeals to the immortals that Euridice be returned to him. Morris provides them in abundance with particular person refrain members costumed as historic figures. Abraham Lincoln’s black high hat, Mae West’s portrait topper full with ostrich feathers and Queen Elizabeth I’s standing ruff and crimson hair stood out prominently among the many personages.

Orfeo ed Euridice exists in a number of variations, and the Met opted for the unique Viennese one in every of 1762, with inclusion of ‘Dance of the Blessed Spirits’ and ‘Dance of the Furies’, each of which date from the 1774 French model. Morris made motion as essential as music in creating the extreme feelings of the story. The dancers had been wearing slightly drab modern-day costume, till the ultimate scene once they turned a riot of coloration.

The Met assembled an excellent forged for this revival. As Orfeo, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo sang with the utmost sensitivity, expression and musicianship. His cries of ‘Euridice’ within the opening scene had been heartrending. Even at its softest, his voice carried effortlessly all through the auditorium, whereas his phrasing of Gluck’s stunning melodies was perfection.

Ying Fang was an beautiful Euridice in each voice and look. Her soprano conveyed Euridice’s roller-coaster trip of feelings in limpid, pretty tones. Fang and Costanzo all however stopped the present with ‘Vieni, appaga il tuo consorte’, Orfeo and Euridice’s Act III duo through which he should endure in silence as she reproaches him for his aloofness.

Soprano Elena Villalón, who hails from Austin, Texas, made her Met debut earlier within the season as Amore. Together with her spunky character and glowing voice, she conquered each coronary heart.

Gluck locations the refrain on equal footing dramatically with the solo singers in Orfeo ed Euridice. In Morris’s staging, the Met refrain was free to focus solely on singing, they usually sounded great. The Furies’ cries of ‘No!’ as Orfeo pleaded to enter the Underworld had been backbone chilling.

Within the pit, J. David Jackson led a efficiency that was as intimate because it was grand. The orchestra performed with distinctive lightness and class, and solo devices, significantly the harp and flute, conveyed as a lot emotion as any performer on the stage.

Though the parable ends in tragedy, Gluck and his librettist had been compelled by circumstances to offer a cheerful ending to the opera. Nymphs and shepherds joined Amore, Orpheus and Euridice in a joyous celebration of affection because the curtain fell.

There was extra to come back, nonetheless, as Peter Gelb, the Met’s common supervisor, appeared on stage to congratulate Palumbo for his time as refrain grasp. Gelb offered him with a large gold lifetime ticket to the Met in honor of his companies. Then there was a pop, and gold confetti rained down on all.

Rick Perdian

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