Sky Arts Coverage of the 2010 Met Opera Season

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Sky Arts Coverage of the 2010 Met Opera Season

I am enjoying the coverage of the Met Opera Season on Sky Arts 2 very much.  All the operas have had something brilliant about them and here are some of my highlights:

- Laurence Brownlee singing Rinaldo in Armida was magnificent and the high tessitura was no problem.  Fleming was slightly less convincing and not nearly as good as her flamboyant recording at Pesaro.  We get a lot of Florez on CD - why not Brownlee?

- Marcelo Álvarez as Cavaradossi with Karita Mattila as a brilliantly highly strung Tosca

- Marina Poplavskaya as Liù in Zeffirelli's war horse production of Turandot.  Maria Guleghina and Marcello Giordano were a bit old school and wooden for me.

- Simon Keenleyside as a young and virile Hamlet which was a fabulous introduction to this opera for me

But the greatest two hours was spent falling in love with The Tales of Hoffman, an opera I have previously sruggled with on record (and yes I do have the Bonynge set).  Here James Levine conducts and Anna Netrebko as Antonia and Joseph Calleja as Hoffmann are wonderful.  Some real emotional angst here.  I was amazed by Kathleen Kim as Olympia who even did her bows to the audience in doll like character.  But it was Kate Lindsey as Nicklausse who stole the show for me. 

Well done to all concerned at Sky Arts.

RE: Sky Arts Coverage of the 2010 Met Opera Season

Like you, I am also enjoying the series. I also record them which saves a considerable amount of money as the performances are usually released on DVD. There does seem to be a glut of performances recorded for DVD release. Many of them are not really worth recording for posterity though.

Lawrence Brownlee is exceptional I agree and much easier on the ear than the more famous light voiced bel canto tenor, Florez. Two or three tracks of listening to Florez' bright tone on disc is quite enough for me, however brilliant he is. That Florez got there before him may mean we are less likely to have Brownlee on complete recordings - especially those recorded in the studio.

I enjoyed Karita Mattila's performance in Tosca. Her acting was very believable. Without wishing to be unkind, it is a shame she wasn't captured a few years earlier when physically and vocally she could have been more alluring. The black wig she wore was also very unflattering. A friend of mine thought she looked rather matronly and said he didn't realise Dame Judi Dench sang opera! The camera is rather more unforgiving than a seat in the opera house. I had a similar impression from her previous Manon Lescaut from the Met. No such criticism could be made about Elina Garanca's Carmen (apart from her dark wig which also did not suit her).

That sounds awful and makes me seem like those who expect roles to be cast by singers who look the age and possess the physical attributes of the characters they are portraying. I don't subscribe to that viewpoint and was genuinely horrified by the Deborah Voight incident at Covent Garden a few years ago.

I applaud Sky Arts for these broadcasts and hope it continues for many years to come.

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