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Met Opera: The Merry Widow

Home > Brisbane > Musicals | Cinema | Opera | Performing Arts | Shows
by John Andrew (subscribe)
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The Metropolitan Opera's production of "The Merry Widow" struggled against some handicaps. Writing a new English translation to fit the rhythms of the original German score necessitates some compromises, and results in some clunkyness. Renee Fleming seemed to be not quite at ease with the low register in which most of her arias were set, and not even the fabled "Vilja" fully delivered. And then there was the dialogue. The Met had compromised in giving the performers body microphones, but only amplifying their spoken parts. But rather too much dialogue, one thought, and rather earnest.

And yet there were standout moments. The 70 year old baritone Thomas Allen, as the cuckolded Baron, can still command a stage and fill a theatre. In Act Two there is a delightful scene when Hanna and Danilo dance to the "Merry Widow" waltz.

Costumes are sumptuous, and there is a delightful segue when Hanna's garden party changes before our eyes into Maxim's, revellers, dancing girls et al. The new medley of Lehar music created for this production works well, and lifts the whole production beguilingly.

Andrew Davis conducts the Metropolitan orchestra superbly.

So – colour, and spectacle and dance. Brilliant music. Wonderful staging and costumes. Ho-hum dialogue. And singing which was for the most part excellent.

A brave attempt to shoe-horn an intimate piece into a massive auditorium.

Full marks for effort. Not quite full marks for the outcome.
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Why? Spectacle, wonderful music
When: 14th - 19th March
Where: Dendy Cinemas
Cost: $25
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