Sunday, February 14, 2021

Les Troyens

 

 
Conductor...............James Levine
Production..............Fabrizio Melano

Cassandra...............Jessye Norman [Debut]
Coroebus................Allan Monk
Aeneas..................Plácido Domingo

Dido....................Tatiana Troyanos 

This performance of Berlioz' Les Troyens at the Metropolitan Opera is from 1983.  Jessye Norman made her Met debut.  There were performances in the run where Jessye played Dido and someone else Cassandra.  She is spectacular as Cassandra.  No one else approaches her.  It is wonderful to see it again.

Berlioz isn't doing what anyone else was doing at his time.  Not Musically and not theatrically.  It is wise to notice he wrote his own libretto.  He loved Virgil's Aenead and based the opera on it. I know the French always treated him with disrespect and perhaps still do.  After all they were the ones who staged the Dido scenes in a mental hospital.  I prefer some semblance of historical setting which we certainly have here.  Both the Met and San Francisco Operas staged it in the last decade, and both achieved triumphs.  But perhaps this one is the greatest of all.  I love it.

The horse doesn't seem to look like a horse. Cassandra and all the other Trojan women commit suicide at the end of Act II.  

The effect of this production is just as it should be.  How does all this pompous singing translate to an insane asylum? It's designed to bring status to Dido.  I love this opera and this is a wonderful version. 

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