Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Here's the story

Went to see Tristan at the northside Cineplex on Saturday. Between 50-60 people there, I'd say and I was the youngest there. The audience was pretty well behaved and probably patient to a fault: it's pretty clear that no one from the theatre is keeping an eye on the show so we had lots of houselights not coming up or not going down in time. We really should have rioted when the lights were still up as the Act III prelude started.

Robert Dean Smith sang Tristan, replacing the still-indisposed Ben Heppner. His Tristan and Michelle DeYoung's Brangäne were very strong. Going in, I'd heard that they were going to be experimenting with split screen effects. Predictably, they didn't work. The Act I confrontation between Tristan and Brangäne played like the beginning of the Brady Bunch with the two of them looking at each other from different boxes on the screen. When you're in the middle of the Act II duet or Tristan's delirium or the Liebestod, you don't need the screen looking like Tetris. Some people on the Opera-L mailing list are in an uproar over it with one vowing never to attend another movie theatre presentation unless he has assurances from the Met that the experiment won't be repeated. See for yourself when PBS airs it sometime in the next few months.

Speaking of which, the telecasts of this year's HD shows starts this week with Hansel und Gretel.

Tonight's Tristan will be broadcast on the Met Opera channel on Sirius. Ben Heppner is apparently going to be there tonight and on Friday for the final performance of this run.

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