Despite the slightly unfair title of this post, I do applaud the efforts of Maureen O'Flynn, who, as Natalie Dessay's cover, stepped in relatively at the last minute this evening as Juliet in the Met's new production of Gounod's Romeo et Juliette. Seriously, brava. Sadly, despite these efforts, it was not a great performance of the role, especially when paired with Ramon Vargas--who turned in a very vocally assured if not particularly thrilling Romeo. I will definitely need to see this production again with Dessay in the role. Especially because I inadvertently already bought tickets.
The production itself is sort of like a Griffin and Sabine book meets a Nova episode meets a bad dream of Galileo's. There are massive projections of stars, moons, eclipses...inlaid wood. Not to say it isn't pleasant to look at...but what the hell is it? OK, the story is timeless, themes are universal blah blah WE GET IT. Though I will say it was ALL worth it for the opening of act IV...the bedroom scene. The curtain opens on Juliet's bed floating in a small pool of light amidst stars and a largely dark stage. It was truly lovely and was certainly the most (only?) truly affecting moment unique to this production. Regardless, this is not an opera I know very well, so I was certainly glad for this re-introduction. There are some truly spectacular moments. If anyone has recording suggestions, do let me know.
Surprise standout: Dimitri Pittas' glorious Tybalt. Bravo!
Update: The AP Review is in...ouch (the truth hurts).