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December 10   -   Joe's Concert Reviews

Metropolitan Opera – Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. December 7, 2016.

Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.  Orchestra (Seat DD23, $25.) Story.  See prior post. Conductor – Marco Armiliato; Chevalier des Grieux – Marcelo Alvarez, Lescaut – Christopher Maltman, Geronte di Ravoir – Brindley Sherratt, Manon Lescaut – Kristine Opolais. We again took advantage of the Rush Ticket program and got these tickets for the performance.  We saw this same opera during the last season (February 2016), the roles of Manon and Geronte were taken by the same artists.  What I intend to do below is just to record some additional observations. I had only a vague idea of the sets used in the opera (I think I confused them with what I saw in Manon) but they came back to me as the opera unfolded.  My recollection of the February performance isn’t much beyond what I recorded in the blog entry, but I am quite sure at the end of Act 2 Manon wasn’t as indecisive in picking out what jewelry she wanted to take with her.  Tonight it didn’t feel at all comedic, as I did last time (and calling it incongruent with the rest of the story.)  The other difference was I wondered why there was a need for so many Nazis; tonight their presence was minimal.  I do wonder if things indeed were different, or it was simply my perception. My impression of how Opolais did as Manon is the same: good, but not great.  However, I thought both des Grieux and Lescaut did very well. There were quite a few empty seats, quite a few people moved after the first intermission.  We decided to move also (and took seats Z7 and 9) after the second intermission.  At regular pricing these are more expensive seats ($140 vs $95), but I actually found the acoustics weaker.  I wonder if it was the singers getting tired or the actual locations. A blurry curtain call.  From left: Sherratt (as Geronte), Alvarez (des Grieux), Armiliato, Opolais (Manon), and Maltman (Lescaut) One major change this year in the Met production was Anna Netrebko singing the title role for several of the performances.  We didn’t get to see that.  The New York Timesreview this season has a rather long discussion on the social significance of the story.  A bit too deep for me.  I do share her curiosity of what the setting of the opera is returned to the 18th century. [Added after initial post.  A couple more points.  One is the scene where des Grieux and Manon first meet is very similar to how Mimi and Rodolfo meet in La Boheme, down to "mi chiamo Manon Lescaut/Mimi."  This opera was written before La Boheme.  The Playbill also talks about how Puccini drew from both the French opera and Wagner traditions, with the result having a "French accent" (my phrase.)  That may be true, but wouldn't that be even more serious with his later works such as La Boheme and La Traviata?  Or did Puccini abandon the idea after this try?] Anne went to visit Ellie in the afternoon and parked her car in Hoboken.  PATH trains run every 30 minutes late at night, so it was after 1 am when we got back.

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August 20   -  Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra – Louis Langree, conductor; Kirill Gerstein, piano. August 15, 2017.

August 15   -  Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra – Andrew Manze, conductor; Thomas Zehetmair, violin. August 11, 2017.

July 28   -  Argus Quartet. July 26, 2017.

July 27   -  Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra – Louis Langree, conductor. July 25, 2017.

July 20   -  Lysander Piano Trio. July 18, 2017.

July 14   -  Brentano String Quartet. July 9, 2017.

June 25   -  Princeton Festival Chamber Concert with Baroque Orchestra. June 24, 2017.

June 23   -  Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra. June 21, 2017.

June 19   -  Princeton Festival Musical Man of La Mancha. June 17, 2017.

June 19   -  Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra Chamber Concert. June 17, 2017.


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