Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hey, Gang, Let's Do a Show! The Met's Enchanted Island

Shorter Enchanted Island: worth a visit, perhaps even worth a repeat.

That's the first sentence of the review I drafted last Wednesday just  after I saw EI, the new/old opera pastiche (more of a collage?) at the Met--which review negligently let itself get trashed later in the same day.throwing me into a snit that lasted until the flu bug descended later in the day blunting all impulse to blogging for the rest of the week.  Anyway, as I was saying when I was so rudely interrupted:

The things that make it work are two: one, the illimitable parade of hits in the 18th Century catalog, including not just Handel but also Vivaldi,  Rameau and others.  And two, some superb Met singing--especially Joyce diDonato (no surprise) and David Daniel.   Daniel is perhaps a bit of a surprise, at least to me.  I'll grant you a mellifluous voice but he often seems to me to lack substance, and you're hungry again 20 minutes after you leave the restaurant.  Here, his steady. consistent approach proved just the thing to stitch together a somewhat languid first act, awaiting the parade of hits in the second.

There is an air of improvisationality about it, like that TV sitcom about the high school where every so often everyone burst as-if spontaneously into song.   They'd better be ready to sing: there's not enough plot to fill one of those little pots down at the dram-shop, but that itself is the joke: there never was any plot to speak of so to replace a classic non-plot with an updated 21st Century non plot is just one more way of poking fun at oneself.  Think  Johnny Carson as Carnac tthe Magnificent.

Production was, inevitably, that modified cirque de soleil style that seems to have become de rigueur for any venue where the seats cost more than $45.  I suppose I've made myself a bit of a bore with my old-guy complaints about absurd excesses of oompah, and I'd have to grant that if ever a show deserved such a fate, it's this one.  

No comments: