Bit of an unintended opera retread this week – over a period of a few days, I watched both the Styriarte version of The Bartered Bride and the Guth Figaro. Or part of it, it anyway. My god – the slowness of the overture. It’s like you can hear every last note move into position and then drop into place. I don’t dislike it, though. It fits with what the production does to the story, with all the slow stylized gestures and the big empty grim-looking interiors.
But I do not need to spend the day thinking about Figaro. I feel like I should watch something completely unfamiliar, but I have no idea what it should be. I’m considering Berg’s Lulu but I’m afraid that will make my head hurt. I guess there’s always that warhorselike standby, the Metropolitan Opera Box Set of Death, which contains a Rosenkavalier and an Elektra that I haven’t seen yet. (I feel bad calling it the Box Set of Death. I like a lot of what it is in it. But I have also had it for over six months and still not listened to all twelve DVDs. Possibly it’s time for a showdown. How many 1980s Met productions can I watch in, say, thirty-six hours? Is this something we really want to find out? I think it probably isn’t. I am not sure I want to set down in writing the kind of things I tend to say when I haven’t slept in thirty-six hours.)