What a genius Hector Berlioz was. The joy of five hours with him at Les Troyens yesterday evening, in a multiplex in Wandsworth, was immense. I am a fan of the Met HD relays to movie houses. The multi screen outfit in Wandsworth is lacking compared to the excellent place that I went to from time to time in Chicago - the River East one on Illinois. The sound was somewhat muddy compared to the superlative results of the system there........but one adjusted. I say one - actually there was just a Baker's Dozen of us there! Not a great turnout for one of the most remarkable works in the repertory - and so rarely seen. In fact Les Troyens was seen at the Royal Opera House last summer. So maybe that was the reason.
This was the Met in top form. Susan Graham was at her considerable finest, Brian Hymel has had a sensational Met debut and stopped the show - no surprise to London audiences for he was the Aeneas at Covent Garden. The Met gets round to the great new singers in the end. I have no doubt that Hymel is now the hottest property on the planet!
And that Met orchestra may be the finest orchestra in America.....the playing of this score was glorious under Fabio Luisi. There were so many individual felicities it seems invidious to mention any single example - but the irresistable playing of the principal clarinet........oh Hector you would have been so moved!
The seering sensuality of the love scenes, the splendid management by Francesca Zambello of her massive forces, the casting in depth - wonderful young Paul Appleby as Hylas for example, and how good to see COT's own Paul Corona in the cast.......I had a tremendously enjoyable five hours!
And to cap it all we had our dear Yankee Diva as the master of ceremonies! What a treat - and the next treat from Joyce will be Maria Stuarda in Wandsworth on January 19. This is David McVicar's new production at the Met which opened on New Year's Eve. I will be there!