As far as I'm concerned, the more Shostakovich the better. The composer belongs to a group of masters – including Scriabin and Chopin – whose work reaches vocal music devotee's ears far less than it should. Lady Macbeth's explosive score teems with a pathos that lives up to its fascinating offstage history of censorship under Stalin.
The preparation for this single show can stretch over an entire season, with input from the multiple teachers and coaches who come to work with the young artists throughout the year.
There is so much to like musically because Ruders stays true to Atwood's novel while finding time to let the music tell the drama on its own that it is indeed a good thing that it has finally found its cultural moment.
"It shows how lovers can be so deeply bonded that they remain loyal to each other across huge time spans and are once again drawn together, even without recognizing why, just acting on instinct."
Violetta's most vulnerable moments were during the overtures behind a scrim. In the initial overture Violetta was seen revving herself up for the party between coughing fits, and before the final act Violetta dreams that Alfredo is still with her.
"In my off time, I come home. My wife Yoon and I live in NY. She plays violin in the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera. I don't get enough of a chance to see her and I'm hardly ever at home."
The austere, dark sets and costuming were paired with relatively austere stage direction from François Racine. While the intention may have been to let the music speak for itself, in this case it seemed to slow the pace of the show, and gave the performers little to do on stage.
Rossini is incredibly unforgiving in his lighting-fast patter, overlapping harmonies, and blistering tempi in the ensembles, and every single one was perfectly precise, executed flawlessly, and were still all funny, evocative, and playful.
The effect was darkly whimsical and visually captivating, allowing the drama to unravel within a framework of fiction – well-suited to the opera's poetic exaggerations and high-flying emotions.
Although meant to generate laughs at the expense of privileged white people, it's extremely difficult today to present this show, even as gently written as it is, without entering dangerous racist waters.