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Thread: Faust - the MET (live HD)

          
   
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  1. #1
    Operafocus
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    Faust - the MET (live HD)

    I'll post more about this tomorrow morning (middle of the night here right now), but I've said before that I've not heard what Jonas Kaufmann sounds like in the house before... Well, although I wasn't actually in the house, this was close enough to create an impression. From the moment he opened his mouth my jaw dropped, and I was pretty much gawking my way through the next four hours. (I've only had that happen once before for the whole duration of a performance.) Un-be-lievable.

    Tomorrow: (hopefully) more eloquence.

  2. #2
    Opera Lively's Journalist Involved Member Elektra's Avatar
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    I'm still without words. It was outstanding. Divine! I held my breath the whole 2nd Act.
    I couldn't sleep after the performance and I'm still thinking about it every second.

    The idea of hallucination between the poison at the beginning and dying at the end was fantastic! Nothing's real.
    I listened to premiere and yesterday's singing was much better (hard to imagine).

  3. #3
    Operafocus
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    Warning: This is not a "proper review", more of a "this is how I experienced it" without all the technicalities

    OK, although this wasn't at the MET itself, it was broadcast live from the MET onto an amazing screen with amazing sound, which is as good as it gets without actually being there. I've seen this production before, at ENO in London, then starring Toby Spence as Faust and Iain Paterson as Mephistopheles. The production itself it set in a lab between the Wars, with Faust being a nuclear physicist. In other words, brought into the 20th century. I didn't think much of the set when I saw it in London and I'm still not convinced. I'm also not convinced that it's dark and demonic enough, but that's just me.

    KAUFMANN...
    If I'm being perfectly honest, when I've listened to Kaufmann before I've thought; "I can hear that he's amazing; his technique, his sound, all of it, but I don't know if his voice does it for me - and I don't know why." I think I know the answer to that now: It's to do with the fact that all I've heard of him before was on Youtube, and Youtube doesn't really do him any favours conveying the glory of the voice. The excitement and ping he actually does have somehow gets lost. He needs a house. I know other performers who "need a house" as well, to properly shine. A lot is lost in a recording. (As opposed to bubblegum pop where all is gained in a recording ).

    So, I enter the movie theatre and wait anxiously. I'm really excited to get a better taste of what he actually sounds like - and as mentioned above, as soon as he opened his mouth, I was pretty much sold. I don't know *what* he actually sounds like in the house, but now more than ever I'm interested in finding out. I'm really glad that I've at least got a pretty good idea now of what he *actually* sounds like, because the sound coming out of his mouth was-just-breathtaking...! Seriously, when he did that diminuendo on the top C of "Salut"...! A collective sigh went through the audience. I've only ever heard that with Domingo before (the sigh, not the diminuendo). Apart from sounding glorious, I'll gladly admit that he looks the part as well.

    I don't know what else to say, other than he was just perfect.

    ...AND THE REST
    René Pape as Mephistopheles was also stunning. Great, big, rounded sound. At ENO, when I saw Faust there, the only reason why I kept coming back in after each intermission was Iain Paterson, who was hilarious as the devil. This was a slightly different interpretation, not as edgy as Paterson, but it worked well - although I would have wished he had been mor demonic and frightening. Enormous voice! Even when he did an interview in the intermission, the interviewer looked like she wanted to take a step back to make room for it.
    Russell Braun as Valentin really worked. Glorious high baritone. It did amuse me a little that he and Kaufmann sounded about as heavy as each other.
    Michele Losier as Siebel was really, really nice. Good, rich sound.
    And finally, I thought Marina Poplavskaya as Marguerite was a great choice. You could see her pretty much drowning in Faust's eyes, not really sure if she wanted to reject him, struggling to push him away/run away (hard to say if it was just playing the role ) and she did a good job with it both acting and singing. What I did find hilarious was when she was going to drown her baby, she pretty much shoved it down the plughole of the sink like it was a waste disposal unit.

    Summed up...
    Four hours and ten minutes actually didn't feel like four hours and ten minutes at the end of the day. Overall a glorious cast that worked really well together. The quality of the voices and the acting really does remind you that you find the best at the Metropolitan Opera. I would see it again - which is something I don't feel that often. Kaufmann really took my breath away. What a sound! Next step: Getting over to the Met to actually hear him in the house.

    Mini-rant
    Now, what I have to say annoyed me half to death was the woman who did the interviewing of the stars in the intermissions. This is because I do interviews myself, so it really irks me when someone gets a great opportunity to get some interesting answers out of people, and screw it up. I'm sorry, I don't know who she is, but 9 out of 10 questions gave "yes/no" answers. Question: "Are there any challenges in doing this role?" Answer: Yes/no. It's not that hard, really, to think a bit further and re-word it to "What challenges have you met in doing this role?" Seriously? Live all around the world and they couldn't even help her with a proper set of questions?
    Rant over

  4. #4
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    The host was Margaret Juntwait.

    How did maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin do? We were just talking about him in the French forum.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); December 13th, 2011 at 05:33 AM.

  5. #5
    Operafocus
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    He did great as far as I could tell. I'm not a great musical scholar, as you know, but I thought the tempi were great, he kept it going and the singers seemed able to breathe well enough (read: he was sensitive to the singers). There were a few chorus moments when they were a bit out, but he held it all together. In the interview he said he got all the singers together and listnened to their input, which is very encouraging for a young maestro. That's about all I can offer, I'm afraid

  6. #6
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    Alma, if it was the HD in the cinema, the interviewer this time was Joyce DiDonato. I love her and I know she's very big on education, but I thought she was surprisingly dull as an interviewer.

    I wish they would rethink these interviews and get someone who is a really good interviewer (given the time constraints and the understandable desire of the singers not to be taxed with long and complex questions in their interval!). No more singers as interviewers, please.

    Also I could wish for the cameras to Back Off! But I see I am alone in this, so...

    If you have only heard Jonas Kaufmann on radio broadcasts then you have not really heard him--at least not on Met/Sirius radio broadcasts. I was stunned to listen to a recording of the recital he gave at the Met--after attending that same recital live. The sound is really compressed dynamically--there seem to be no pianissimi and little variation in volume, it's just all loud. Also, there's a sort of "breathy" or "hoarse" overlay. I can tell you he sang with great sensitivity and never truly loudly yet you would never know that from the radio broadcast. I noticed the same issues when I compared my live experience of Faust with listening to a recording of the radio broadcast this weekend.

    The HD sound is slightly better I think. And of course if you compare with the recording of the Royal Opera House broadcast of Tosca, again there is more dynamic shading and no "hoarse" overlay. So I blame it on Sirius/The Met.

    OF, glad you liked the HD and I hope you get a chance to see JK live! It took a push from a singer friend of mine for me to decide to hurt my credit cards BADLY in order to swing two trips to NYC to see him, but it was worth every penny ( and there are many, many of them)!

  7. #7
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Oh, OK, FraFra, I got the name of the host from the announcement in Opera News, so maybe at the last moment they replaced her with Joyce DiDonato - who is an intelligent woman, I'm surprised to learn that she was dull as an interviewer.

    FraFra, regarding your singer friend, can't you recruit him/her to join us here on Opera Lively?

  8. #8
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Wow, Elektra, very beautiful. In the absence of a Like button ( that's one of the aspects that I haven't been able to solve yet), I'm liking your clip in my usual verbose way.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #9
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    really looking forward to this encore in a couple weeks

  10. #10
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    It finally got to NZ and I must say that Le Veau D'Or really blew me away, in fact René Pape was the best part of the evening (JK was good but really Faust is the dullest character out of the three).
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); January 6th, 2018 at 02:43 PM.
    Natalie

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