Paul Groves as Pylade, Susan Graham as Iphigenie & Placido Domingo as Oreste
I attended this Live in HD Met performance Saturday with friends and was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t know this opera composed by Gluck in the 1700s, but found much to recommend it.
To begin with, the small cast was led by mezzo Susan Graham, Plácido Domingo in a baritone role and tenor Paul Groves, who came up through the ranks at the Met. After studying at Juilliard, he ‘graduated’ to the Met’s Young Artists Development Program.
We were momentarily anxious when a gentleman came out to do a curtain speech. That generally means someone isn’t singing that performance. However, he only said that both Susan and Plácido were suffering from colds but were singing through them. Whew!
There were no on-stage coughs, only beautiful melodic lines.
Opening set for Iphigenie
The sets were sparse but effective. Lighting effects were really well done. There were few minor roles. Male, female and mixed choruses were employed and there was a dancing chorus. The story is based on Greek mythology.
The opera is in four acts, but very short – about 2 ½ hours. They took only one intermission. The music is very lyrical and elegantly clean. Very Mozartian. And the recits are accompanied by orchestra, not just harpsichord.
In short, it’s a perfect opera for university and college music departments to perform!
Of course, you have to have a good mezzo; she is the lead. And how often does that happen? The mezzo is usually relegated to a supporting or even pants role
The encore is Wednesday, March 16 at 6:30 pm if you missed it.
The backstage host is Natalie Dessay, lead soprano in the next HD live production, Lucia di Lammermoor which airs at the same theaters Saturday, March 19 at 1 pm.
If you listen to classical music on WV Public Radio or read Mona’s Classically Speaking blogs, I’m sure she’ll offer tickets the week before – so stay tuned! Check us out on our website or catch us on Facebook.