Straightforward Otello from the Met

In 2015 the Metropolitan Opera premiered a new production of Verdi’s Otello directed by Bartlett Sher.  It was broadcast in the Met in HD series and subsequently released on Blu-ray and DVD.  It’s a bit hard to judge the production on video because of the video direction.  I don’t think there are any big ideas but it’s decorative enough with arrangements and rearrangements of plexiglass wall/rooms and some effective video projections for things like the storm scene.  Only Act 4 breaks the mould with a sparse stage with just a bed and a few chairs.  I strongly suspect though from the occasional wide angle shot that there was a lot more going on visually than one sees on the video.  Costumes are 19th centuryish and quite decorative.

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A Norma for our times

The recording of Bellini’s Norma made at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2016 is about as good as video recordings of opera go.  It has it all; a well thought through and well executed production concept, very fine musical values, great acting, judicious camera work and top notch sound and picture.  It doesn’t get much better.

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