Monday, November 16, 2009

Dead on arrival

Maybe I was just preoccupied Monday night, or perhaps I just could not stifle the contrarian within, but I struggle to understand The Big Deal about the Met's From the House of the Dead.

What can one write about a musical drama devoid of drama? The singers, excellent. The staging and even the monotonous stage movements, effective. The music, exciting. The orchestra, in fine form under Maestro Salonen. For me, though, it added up to a whole lot of Not Much, and, after the first 50 minutes, I was fidgeting in my seat and struggling to stay awake.

Hats off to Patrice Chereau and his production team for trying to bring a deep, dark, semi-autobiographical Dostoevsky novel to the stage. Reminded why I wanted to slit my wrists about halfway through Crime & Punishment.

OK, I could have passed on this, but the audience loved it. So did the critics. I disagree. Can't win 'em all, but at these prices.......oh well.

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