Les Troyens at the Met last night! I had been rather intimidated by this five hour (and fifteen minutes) opera by Berlioz, but it turned out to be amazing.
The epic drama is basically two operas in one. The
first two acts concern the end of the Trojan War and focus on Cassandra
and her prophecies. The last three acts concern Aeneas and Dido in Carthage. The grand production included long segments of ballet that were gorgeous and interestingly choreographed (more like contemporary dance). And a very large chorus. The sets and lighting were wonderfully evocative.
I had tried to read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia, but found it impossible to follow, however, I had no trouble during the actual opera, with the help of course of the Met titles. It was thoroughly engrossing. The music was lush, and the singing, particularly Susan Graham as Dido, was amazing. Other performers included the mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill as Dido's sister, who had a lovely, deep voice, Deborah Voigt as Cassandra, who carried the whole first and second acts, Dwayne Croft who sang Coroebus, beautifully in the first and second acts, and Marcello Giordani (who I've now seen in a number of roles) as Aeneas. Most of his performance was pretty good but not really charismatic, but he had one aria that was incredible. As I said, the stand out performance was Susan Graham. Stunning.
This was a real treat. Thank you Met Varis Weekend Lottery!