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Thread: Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District at the Met

          
   
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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District at the Met

    Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, opera in four acts, sung in Russian, premiered on January 24, 1934 at the Leningrad Maly Operny, with music by Dmitri Shostakovich, libretto by the composer and Alexandre Preis, based on the novel of the same name by Nikolai Leskov (available for free reading online by clicking [here]).

    This review is of the 18th Met performance of this opera, on November 17, 2014. The run continues on November 21 and 25 at 7:30 PM and November 29 at 1 PM. For tickets, click [here].

    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra conducted by James Conlon
    The Metropolitan Opera Chorus, chorus master Donald Palumbo

    Production: Graham Vick
    Set & Costume Designer: Paul Brown
    Lighting Designer: Nick Chelton
    Choreographer: Ron Howell

    Cast

    Main roles:

    Katerina Ismailova: Eva-Maria Westbroek
    Sergey: Brandon Jovanovich
    Boris: Anatoli Kotscherga
    Zinovy Ismailov: Raymond Very

    Important comprimarios:

    Police Seargeant: Vladimir Ognovenko
    An old convict: Dmitry Belosselskiy
    Aksinya: Holli Harrison
    Sonyetka: Oksana Volkova
    Millhand: Tyler Duncan
    Priest: Mikhail Kolelishvili

    Other comprimarios in minor roles:

    Dustin Lucas, Allan Glassman, Brandon Cedel, Rod Nelman, Kurt Phinney, Daniel Clark Smith, David Lowe, Earle Patriarco, John McVeigh, Richard Bernstein, Kelly Cae Hogan, Paul Corona

    -----------

    This is the second revival of the Graham Vick production, which opened more than 20 years ago on November 10, 1994, under the same James Conlon, and with Maria Ewing in the title role. Its first revival was in 2000 with maestro Valery Gergiev, and Catherine Malfitano.

    It is very impressive how modern and avant-garde this production looks, twenty years later. It is actually a lot more risqué than the vast majority of Met productions, with a very graphic lovemaking scene. It fully qualifies as Regieoper, complete with lots of trash bags and a good amount of blood. Some of the symbolism is a bit naive and obvious (like the women dressed in white bridal gowns who keep vacuuming the floor and then pretend to use the vacuum cleaners as a sex toy), but it all works rather well, and one must say that this is a lot of fun.

    Those who think of the Met as a rigid and traditionalistic place need to watch this show. Considering that the Met was already doing something like this two decades ago, this kind of opinion will need to be revisited.

    This is the third Lady Macbeth I see with Eva-Maria Westbroek (we'll be interviewing the singer in person on Thursday the 20th; stay tuned). Even though this is arguably the most risqué of the three, Eva-Maria in this one was more subdued and she adopted a depressed/despondent picture of the character, while in Amsterdam Katerina was a stronger woman, and in the ROH Covent Garden, she was wild and colorful in acts II and III. In terms of voice, Eva-Maria was phenomenal as usual, in this signature role for her.

    Brandon Jovanovich was perfect in looks, acting and voice as Sergei. We interviewed the singer today and he described in detail his take on the character so I'll let him speak of his own voice and won't address it here in this review (it will take a while to transcribe the interview, though, but stay tuned for it).

    The cast was very homogeneous (except for Raymondo Very which had a very unremarkable night), and both the Russian and Non-Russian singers did very well (especially Anatoli Kotscherga and Dmitri Belosselsky). Conlon was a thrilling conductor. His performance was phenomenal, and the orchestra was its usual ultra-competent, oiled-machine self and just as good was the chorus.

    This show is very close to perfection - my lucky run with several outstanding shows in a row (with a less ideal Carmélites in between) is still going strong.

    It is very easy to rate it: A++ overall, no doubt. A few elements dropped a tiny bit from the maximum note, but no element dropped below A.

    Orchestra: A++
    Conductor: A++
    Chorus: A++
    Stage Direction: A+
    Lighting: A+
    Sets: A++ (I'll will post production pictures later)
    Blocking and Choreography: A++
    Props, costumes: A+
    Singing: A+ (one singer was a weaker link - pretty much all others did well)
    Acting: A
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); November 19th, 2014 at 05:01 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  3. #2
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    All production pictures below are of the 2014 Met revival of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, are credited to Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera, and are used with authorization of the Met Press Department.

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    This was the most stunning scene with the female chorus on top and the male chorus on the floor, act I

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    This scene looks like a surrealistic painting - great set design!

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    The workers dance around Katerina - choreography was nice

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    The police scene in act III was hilarious - another successful set evoking the Soviet era
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); November 18th, 2014 at 02:16 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    See above for copyright notice

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    The wrestling match

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    Eva-Maria looked pretty and sexy

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    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); November 18th, 2014 at 02:17 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    See above for copyright notice

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    Our interviewees Brandon Jovanovich as Sergei and Eva-Maria Westbroek as Katerina

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    The mountain of trash bags in the background: yep, it's Regieoper!
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); November 18th, 2014 at 02:18 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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