Friday, December 10, 2010

Best Opera for 2010

There were some pretty wonderful things this year.  First I will focus on live performances.

xxWerther at the Paris Opera was like an out of body experience.  Everything worked together to create an atmosphere of mysterious romance and doom.  Special award for the best playing by an opera orchestra.

xxNext has to be the wonderful San Francisco Die Walküre with the best ever Brünnhilde in Nina Stemme.  The atmosphere and emotion were over the top.

After 2 big La Traviatas in 2009, imagine my surprise when I so completely enjoyed Karen Slack's Violetta at the Sacramento Opera.  It was over the top intense, and why else do we go to the opera?

Good but not spectacular were Cyrano de Bergerac in San Francisco, x La Sonnambula in Paris, and The Makropulos Case in San Francisco.

The other best opera experiences of 2010 were all live from the Metropolitan in HD.  Top of this heap must come the wonderful, moving and quite spectacular Boris Godunov with René Pape.  It was simply a great experience.

xxThe HD series has brought us some wonderful things this year.  I loved Elina Garanča's Carmen for her singing, her clear-eyed intensity and her rapport with Roberto Alagna.

xxI am continuing to enjoy the Renée Fleming film festival.  We started the year with her performance in Der Rosenkavalier.  The most memorable thing from the HD broadcast was the shot of Renée and Susan Graham sitting on the bed talking while waiting for the opera to begin.

xxAnd I adored her in Rossini's Armida.  The whole thing was enormous fun with lots of excellent coloratura singing from Lawrence Brownlee and friends.

xxDid I forget something?  Don Pasquale.  Magnifico. 

I'm over 10, I see, but it was a very good year.

Disappointments also happened.  For me Patricia Racette's Faust from San Francisco completely fell flat.  If I were her, I would not repeat this opera.  And I hated the Met's Rheingold.  I would prefer not to be reminded of the almost icky Simon Boccanegra in HD.  If it weren't for Placido Domingo, it would have been a total loss.

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