Does Merry Widow HD qualify as a cinematic show? It hardly does, and to say the truth the camera work was not exactly great -demanding as the deed was. A lot of dance and movement that required a lot of focus pulling and the like, there have been some shaky, dizzying moments, mind me. Overall satisfactory direction for the screen though, and we're all very thankful (us, the overseas audiences), that MET is opening its doors in such a generous way to opera lovers all around the world.
I loved this Merry Widow take, with lively Renée Fleming and all-time charmer Nathan Gunn (oh, well, I'm officially in love with him) being the main stars of this new Metropolitan Opera show. But, no, I'm lying: Kelli O' Hara and the Grisettes -check them out singing We're the ladies of the Chorus!- are no less stars of this lively, joyful and hopefully not old-fashioned operetta byAustro-Hungarian Franz Lehár. I personally find it still relevant and modern in its own merit, as it does talk about women's emancipation (sic), after all. And love does win in the end, and how can that be not relevant? It starts off in a rather slow pace, when a dozen of wannabe-husbands want to dance with the rich widow, then finds a decent pace, until the visit to Chez Maxim gives all the missing spark. Fun translation also added to the piece.
Well, not much more to say, I guess. Opera lovers rejoice, and make sure not to miss the new season at MET: they have Les Contes d'Hoffmann, if you fancy french libretto, La Donna Di Lago, if Italian libretto is your thing and much more. If you are not an opera lover yet, there's no harm in trying, especially now that this high brow(sic) genre of entertainment goes to your local multiplex at a fraction of the original price. Especially if there's no opera house in your city, which is actually my case.
For the history, the Merry Widow HD live broadcast at Utopolis in Luxembourg was sold out, packed with many a local audience. A complementary reception was given before the live transmission started, a glass of bubbly makes a good start in such occasions and all that for 31 euros. Fair price, I would say. And all that while the description of the show was not encouraging enough, genre is alternative content (in which way is opera alternative, I wonder). Anyways, so looking forward to the next show, even if some were apparently less excited, Rupert Christiansen of the Telegraph, for instance. I couldn't agree more with him on the following point, though: "Joyce DiDonato was the over-ingratiating backstage host, reading off autocue rather too obviously and anchoring some dismally uninformative backstage coverage."