Self-inflicted surprises can be tricky. Outside of a vague anxiety about stepping into unfamiliar territory, I held no particular expectation regarding yesterday’s foray to see an opera of Hamlet and no anticipation beyond the desire to watch and listen open-heartedly. I cannot call myself an opera fan, but I think, after seeing and hearing The Metropolitan Opera’s production of Hamlet in HD Live, I may become one.

The production was fantastic. The austere sets, no more than walls and shadows, served to hone the focus on the operatic voices of Marlis Petersen as Ophelie, Simon Keenlyside as Hamlet, Jennifer Larmore as Gertrude, James Morris as Claudius, and Toby Spence as Laerte. We, my cousin and I, were thoroughly engaged.

The lighting rendered the scenes like an Old Masters painting, the close-ups drawing you into the emotions reflected on the faces of the singers and heard in the tonal elaborations of their perfect voices. My only nitpick was the end–not Shakespeare’s original. My thought on that–don’t fool with the Master’s work. The final scene was way too much like Romeo and Juliet, thoroughly subverting Shakespeare’s intent. May 1st, the opera Armida opens; I’m going.


3 thoughts on “Hamlet

  1. I always listen to Saturday Live at the Opera on the radio and they were doing Hamlet yesterday although, being a true fan of Shakespeare, I didn’t want to listen. Maybe if I’d seen it performed….

  2. I wasn’t sure what to expect regarding showing, I went in with an open mind and I have to say, it was fantastic! I don’t think the performance was enough to win me over as an opera fan, but I loved it enough to actually see another. Thanks Daya!

  3. Awesome! Glad you had such a great time. A friend once told me with opera, either you love it or you don’t. I tried listening and sadly didn’t take to it. I want to like it! I think it’s cool. I should try another opera sometime, see whether I feel differently about it today. Your positive experience has inspired me to give it another try!

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