Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Mark Morris directs radiant production of Gluck opera at Met

Mark Morris directs radiant production of Gluck opera at Met

For a work that was composed with the goal of bringing classical restraint to opera, Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice" packs a surprising emotional punch.
And in the production by director-choreographer Mark Morris that premiered at the Metropolitan Opera on Wednesday night, it seems as modern it must have been when it was first performed in 1762.
Gluck uses song and dance in nearly equal measure to retell the myth of the musician who ventures to the underworld to bring back his dead wife, only to lose her again when he can't resist looking at her before they reach safety.
Morris and his production team have approached the task of filling the vast Met stage with wit and imagination. The 100-member chorus, all-important in this opera, stand in three tiers of a semi-circular set (designed by Allen Moyer), each member dressed (by Isaac Mizrahi) as a different historical character, from Abe Lincoln to Madame Curie to Mahatma Gandhi.
The 22 dancers, mostly from Morris' own troupe, perform modern dance routines that are seamlessly integrated into the action, their costumes changing colors as the action moves from earth to Hades, to the Elysian Fields, and finally back to earth. The chorus also takes part in the choreography with carefully timed hand and arm movements.
As the action changes location, the semi-circle breaks in two and rotates about the stage, finally giving way to a grotto-like labyrinth for the climax: Orfeo's attempts to lead Euridice out of the underworld, her demand that he look at her, and his fatal acquiescence. Losing her yet again prompts Orfeo to sing the opera's most famous aria, "Che faro senza Euridice?" ("What shall I do without Euridice?")
Gluck's one concession to the fashions of his day in Vienna where the work premiered was to give it a happy ending _ Amor, or Cupid, takes pity on Orfeo and restores Euridice to him a second time.
The opera is written in three acts, but Morris wisely chose to present it without intermission, allowing the tension to build in one uninterrupted span lasting an hour and 40 minutes.
Amid this elaborate production, the three soloists need to be world-class to make an impact, and they certainly are. Counter-tenor David Daniels dominated the evening as Orfeo, calling out Euridice's name in plangent tones and shaping his famous aria with understated pathos.
As Euridice, Maija Kovalevska displayed a rich lyric soprano voice that blended with Daniels' in gorgeous harmony during their scene together. Soprano Heidi Grant Murphy was a delectable and slightly goofy Amor, making a dazzling entrance by descending on a wire from the flies in a costume consisting of pink shirt, slacks, and white wings pasted on her back.
James Levine conducted the pared-down orchestra and did a fine job of keeping soloists, dancers and chorus all in sync.
The one sad note on an otherwise triumphant evening was the absence of the singer for whom the production was originally conceived, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who died of breast cancer last year. The performance and the three others to follow before the season ends on May 12 are dedicated to her memory.
___
http://www.metopera.org


Updated : 2021-07-30 13:04 GMT+08:00