I was surprised to find that I remembered virtually nothing about this entire opera except the trio in the bed. (This is probably not good.) I didn't remember the Bartlett Sher production, particularly, but I know it's been complained about. The proscenium adds emotional distance, so add a play within a play, and you get still more distance. Perish the thought that you would think Ory was real. For me this worked. And it is exactly the same reason why it didn't work in La Sonnambula. Poor Amina could not be more sincere and is destroyed by production distancing.
While Ory is disgusting. Playing it out in the alley behind would be nice. Our fabulous singing actors, Juan Diego Florez, Joyce DiDonato and Diana Damrau, are all playing it for comedy, but I don't think it's helping. Sorry, Rossini, it's just not funny. I know in Zurich they played it differently, but I would have to see it to have an opinion.
Gorgeous young women who did not sing littered the stage like women in Italian television game shows.
While I was watching it, I noticed that formally it is like grand opera and not at all like a comique. What little recitative there is is accompagnato. The numbers are all large and complicated. I don't think it's ever been popular.
Compare here and here to see if my mind wandered too far.
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