Today, I made sure to cut out a large portion of my time to go and see the Met's Live HD Broadcast of "Carmen" starring Elina Garanča as Carmen, who just had a huge cover article written up about her in Opera News. The other cast members included Barbara Frittoli as Micaela, who had her Met debut as the same role back in the 1990s. I'd been excited about hearing Robert Alagna as Don José. So...I left to get my money back NOT because of the performance... But the not-so-good Live feed.
During the first few moments of the show, the sound was behind the video. WAY behind in musical terms. The singers mouths would be moving and ...wait for it... THEN the sound would start. Whoever was broadcasting simply cut the feed during the second rendition of the men's chorus and the sound the video were back together again. This was not the end of our particular theater's problems.
The video cut out COMPLETELY right before Barbara Frittoli could sing the show-stealing aria, "Je dis...". And it never came back on. The screen just started flashing strange images of green and blue and fuzzy video images where if you squinted your eyes and turned your head to the left, you could sort of distinguish a face, or something. After about 10 minutes of this, the a manager came in and told our theater that we could leave and get our money back. But better yet, it was just the theater I was in. Just MINE! The other theater was fine! But by the time we knew, there was already standing room only in the working theater.
So. I left and joined a line of about 30 to 80 blue hairs and got my money refunded and two complimentary tickets to see another movie. Just not in 3-D or IMAX (Considering I still want to see Avatar, this was not appealing). I was so excited about seeing the death scene in HD! IN MY FACE! But alas, this was not the day. Plus, I've heard about the new controversial ending.... Such a let down :(
But from what I did see...
Elina is an amazing Carmen. She's had a 10 year career already. Pretty awesome for any 33 year old singer. I think she is going to follow in the footsteps of the great Mezzos that have portrayed Carmen, like Marilyn Horne and Grace Bumbry. The intensity in her eyes gave me chills! Especially during her scenes with Don José. After he sang his HUGE aria( La fleur
e tu m'avais jetée) which only suffered at the very end, but he owned up to it in the interview with no hesitation. Hey, we're all human. NO one is perfect. Maybe he is past his prime though....
Barbara Frittoli .....I'm not in love with her voice just yet. She is a convincing Micaela though.
Most definitely, the opera world is changing. How often do you leave a MET production because the video feed isn't working? Maybe next time I'll be in a theater where the video feed will work the entire time.
KUDOS to Teddy Tahu Rhodes for stepping in to cover Escamillo!