Saw the Met Opera’s La Traviata tonight at Mazza Gallerie in DC. They do a series through Fathom Events, a live Saturday performance broadcast to theaters, with an encore the following week. You see it on those two days or not at all. Saturday performance in Philly was sold out when I decided to go the day before; Wednesday night showing was in a 3/4s full theater. (Of the kind of people who laughed at whatever the director said when he responded to a question in French.)
Can’t comment on the performance, totally unqualified, so let’s just assume among the best you can see. Unsurprisingly, a bit less affecting than some live operas I’ve seen, but better than the one or two where I could tell I was seeing meh performances. (I got teary, but I also cried during Spider-Man last week, so take with a grain of salt.) A nice treat to have camera angles to actually see what the hell is happening, as the seats I’ve been able to afford generally means that performers through opera glasses are still the size of Lego figures.
Also: subtitles! I actually knew what the hell was going on. Which made me realize that the story is about very silly people doing incomprehensible things with the sort of melodrama that would make telenovela characters say, “Chica, you’re laying it on a bit thick.” But, you know, opera.
Recommended for casual fans who surprise themselves by going <raises hand>, and for folks who have never seen one and want to find out if they’re missing anything. Also perhaps a gateway drug for advanced kids this way. The subtitles make it much more approachable, and the ticket price ($28 where I was) likewise.
Going forward, I’m not sure if I’m interested in seeing the operas I’ve never heard of, but I’ll definitely try to go to the canon performances: the rest of this season includes Carmen and Die Valkure (aka the Apocalypse Now theme song). I might actually be able to say something useful about Carmen; I’ve seen it before. Full listing here, including some other snooty arts like ballet (which I might give a try).