After Saturday, Liz and I are halfway through our four-opera subscription to the Metropolitan Opera. On October 1, we saw Puccini's La Boheme, and on Saturday, we attended a performance of Bizet's Carmen. Both operas were excellent, with lavish sets, fine music, and outstanding singing. It's the Met, so we knew we'd be seeing one of the best opera companies in the world. But we both enjoyed Carmen a little more. The only knock we had on was that we didn't think Rodolfo was really convincing in his heartbreak over Mimi's death at the end of the opera. As Mimi dies, Rodolfo cries out her name and the curtain falls. Compared to the recording we have of La Boheme, where Pavarotti sounds like he's in absolute anguish, the Met's Rodolfo sounded upset but perhaps resigned to her death, and maybe even a little hopeful that he'd find someone else soon. But I'm nitpicking an otherwise great production.
We both really enjoyed Carmen. All of the stars were fantastic and completely believeable, and the costumes in particular were amazing. And somewhere backstage, the Met must have an entire stable of horses, because in Act IV there were at least half a dozen horses in a parade. I knew the music of the opera extremely well, having heard it and performed it myself, but I'd never heard the music in the context of the opera. It was like knowing a movie soundtrack but not knowing how the songs or parts of the score fit into the movie. So while watching Carmen, I finally got to hear all these musical elements as they fit into the opera. It doesn't hurt at all that the music is so catchy and I'm still humming bits of the score three days later.
We have a two-month break now, until our next opera, Verdi's Rigoletto, in December. And then in January comes the opera that was the impetus for the subscription, Die Zauberflote, Mozart's last and my favorite opera. I'm already excited.