by Nicholas Jones
Today we went to the cineplex to watch the latest Met HD Live broadcast: there are five more this spring! Thank you, Peter Gelb! This one was Susan Graham and Placido Domingo in Gluck’s amazing opera, Iphigénie en Tauride, or Iphigenia in the land of the Scythians (my translation). Graham and Domingo both had colds — they called it a NYC epidemic — but they sounded pretty darn good.
For me, coincidentally, this opera, which Gluck adapted from a little-known Greek tragedy by Euripides, came on the heels of four wonderful lectures at Oberlin by Toronto classicist Victoria Wohl, about how strange Euripides’ plays are, and how that strangeness can clue us into their political and ideological messages.
Whatever it meant there, it was not sung in a hall like the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. And that aspect of scale must have been part of what it meant.
In the Met, the singers’ voices have to be BIG. In the HD simulcasts, you get to meet the singers backstage. Here were Graham and Domingo, both obviously struggling with colds, talking to us and host Natalie Dessay, perky as always. Domingo almost sadly gestured to the microphone he was holding for the interview, and commented “we don’t get to use these onstage.” [Read more…]