This was another Saturday afternoon live opera broadcast from The Metropolitan Opera. As anyone with any knowledge of opera can tell you, Tristan and Isolde is long, and quintessentially Wagnerian. It is, of course, a story of tragic love. And I don’t need to actually review Tristan und Isolde, since many consider it the greatest opera ever written.
This production was presented very differently from Macbeth. The director of the broadcast was interviewed during one of the intermissions. She felt that since the opera was static, in terms of action, that she would give the viewers a choice of focus, much as you would have in a live performance. The device she used was boxes. On the large screen, there might be two, three, or four boxes. For instance, one would show the overall action, and two would have close-ups on the singers. I often found this distracting and disappointing. One of the reasons for watching something in a movie theater is the large screen, and this detracts from that.
I do have to say that, of course, the production itself was well done. The singers were outstanding, and James Levine and the orchestra superb. I do applaud the Met for this series of live HD broadcasts, and I hope it continues to be successful.