Karita: Super enjoyable, often awesome. She is a constant joy to behold onstage. The sound is always distinctive, somehow managing to project a disarming warmth through that trademark silvery peal.
And yet, perhaps there's something lacking though when she's called on to deploy the real punishing firepower stuff? The sound loses focus at the top? There's something imprecise about the attacks? We can't quite finger it. Elsa will be an interesting opportunity for comparison.
Heps: Brilliant. I'm so stoked for his Lohengrin I can taste it.
Alan Held: Yet another great reason to be excited if he does his Wotan in the DC Die Walkure-homa next year.
Jennifer Welch Babidge: Boy is that a thankless character. She spends the whole first act almost getting accidentally gay married and doesn't even get a line to tie up her plot when Fidelio goes reverse Crying Game on her. Still doesn't excuse a vibrato that sounds like the CD is skipping.
The Pit: Decidedly not a top of their game night for the Met orchestra under Jimmy replacement Paul Nadler. Not that I can fathom how anyone manages to pull off a successful reading of Beethoven, run a really difficult entire opera at the same time, all while trying to make good on an intimidating cover job. But the shortfall in control and larger vision was pretty noticeable. Some uncharacteristically graceless playing from the string section too.
The Production: Neither here nor there until the laugh out loud staging silliness at the end. What's with the closing chorus dance party?
In sum: I still think it's kind of lame. The impression of opera by committee is really strong in person, like that Word document in your office that everyone edits to within an inch of its life. But at the same time you just have to respect the people that can make those insanely difficult numbers work. I have a feeling that when this is done poorly, it gets really, really bad. So props for a very solid if at times lackluster show.