An opera generalization: if I'm going to spend five daylight hours in an opera theatre, I'd rather be in the company of Hector Berlioz than Richard Wagner. Lots of campy over-the-top self-indulgence in Berlioz but the same is true of Wagner and it is not nearly so hit-you-over-the-head irritating. In any event, Les Troyens (in HD today) is not really one opera, it's two: one about Troy, one about Carthage one about love and one about war, one with lots an lots and lots of dance. With so much of the day gone, I take time for only a few brief notes:
- Susan Graham looks her age (she's 51) but for vocal performance, she is absolutely at the top of her game.
- Last-minute-replacement tenor Bryan Himel makes it look easy. Which is not remotely to say that it is easy, except in the narrow sense that the role seems almost perfectly suited to his natural talents.
- When people talk about Met conductor Fabio Luisi, they still seem to wind up talking about his predecessor, James Levine. Still needs work on the branding, I'd say.