Thursday, July 22, 2010

Met Live in HD; Turandot or Too-dark?

There are unconfirmed reports that Liù is missing. A large crowd reported hearing screams and one of the palace guards filed an insurance claim on a missing sword, but no one could testify as to exactly what took place.

This is because the first and third acts of Turandot in the Met Live in HD were too dark.

Yes, I know the scenes took place at night. I know. And I suspect that the rich atmosphere may have worked perfectly on the big stage of the Met. But unlike La Bohème, which is also an atmospheric production, this Turandot was too dark for the silver screen.

It brought to mind the standoff over lighting between Chinese film director Zhang Yimou and lighting director Guido Levi in "The Turandot Project." The film chronicles the process involved in mounting the massive "Turandot 2K" in Bejing's Forbidden City. Zhang Yimou and Levi stood with a translator between them, obviously pissed at one another and unable to reconcile fundamentally different views as to how much light was needed.

Too much light and everything is washed out, not enough and...

One advantage of the darkness was that the music glittered like a diamond. Conductor Andris Nelsons got a resonant sound from the orchestra, and brought a metric focus to this score that was refreshing. The brass in Act III sounded fabulous.

I liked Maria Guleghina's Turandot. It took some time for her voice to warm but once it did she was able to live above the staff. Marina Poplavskaya brought bell-like clarity to Liù, and balanced the delicate curves of her act three solos to build a convincing and powerful high B-flat.

The great Samuel Ramey had the part of Timur. It was wonderful to see him onstage again, but wide vibrato waves sometimes overpowered his singing. Marcello Giordani sang a muscular Calàf. His singing in the finale made a thrilling ensemble with Guleghina to close the opera with an exclamation point.

This just in...a woman fitting Liù's description was identified in ceiling-cam footage. Timur is on the scene. We will keep you up-to-date as information becomes available.

1 comment:

  1. I am desperate for an answer. Why are all the Met broadcasts so bloody dark. It just gets worse.
    Are the cinemas trying to save their bulbs or whatever fires up their picture?


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