So… Rodelinda just ended. Honestly, I was kind of bummed out. The lack of ensembles makes it hard to enjoy the opera. It slows it down. I also missed all the other instruments but technically they didn’t exist though so I’m sure people didn’t miss them at the premiere. You can’t miss what you don’t have.
Handel is a master composer. His legacy lives on today, but he had limited resources. I wish he had spared the use of the harpsichord a little bit. Every recitative felt a little superfluous, but I’m not a composer and it moves the action along so… It works.
Fleming is always a delight. She has this full voice that envelopes a role. I didn’t feel much emotion in this portrayal though. It’s a hard role to act though, and I wasn’t there so that takes away.
I feel bad saying this but I thought School was Blythe the majority of the opera, until William Berger told me he wasn’t. I really am not accustomed to the Baroque repertoire, and that just goes to show you. I really think it’s interesting though, that we have countertenors today. They help keep the Baroque repertoire alive. Honestly, it was a little uncomfortable watching Stephanie Blythe play Orpheus. She is a master singer as well, but it was odd. She did it convincingly, but knowing that a person who is playing Eudige was under the costume was… different. Hopefully one of these fancy countertenors will sing more at the Met soon… I can’t get enough.
School definitely has a counter tenor voice for the ages. He had good diction and he projects his voice. As for the acting, it sounds like he’s getting into the role, but I can’t tell for sure.
Blythe is a true mezzo. Her voice fits perfectly in the role. Her acting is spot on. You can hear it through the radio.
The recorder… It was a quintessential Baroque instrument, but if not played correctly, it will cause you to take poison, which you will realize isn’t fast acting enough, so you will jump off a building. The recorders sound beautiful here. They are expertly played, but when in the hands of third graders (shutter) they are evil. In Italian, the recorder is called the flauto dolce, translating to sweet flute. I have never known for this to be more true. It really is a sweet flute, when accompanied with some of the most celebrated singers of the era.
Anyways, Rodelinda as an opera didn’t thrill me the way I thought it would. But the singers did. I was blown away, once more, by another incredible evening at the Met.