Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bullet points on Boris Godunov HD cast

In no particular order:
  • The HD cast people really need to chill with the closeups--I get that they want to avoid the impression that any of this is taking place on a stage, but its quite maddening in a production with so much going on to not be able to orient yourself with periodic wide shots.
  • Rene Pape is a great man. That said, this didn't bowl me over the first time. Also, the HD cast is not really his friend. Some part of Pape's reputation is about a silky smoov voice, but its a far cry from a one-size-fits-all-spaces voice. Understanding his volume choices is key to appreciating his portrayal, and the HD cast drastically compresses those things.
  • With her mane of red curls as Marina, Ekaterina Semenchuk bears an uncanny resemblance to Glory, the villain from Buffy season five.
  • Props to all who deserve it for bringing together such a ginormous and strong cast for this. Alexandrs Antonenko (Grigory) is the real deal, rite?


Will said...

Obsession with close-ups had plagued MET telecasts ever since Kirk Browning was succeeded by Brian Large, who always went with the concept that he was making a movie, not that he should find a balance between the stage production and an appropriate number of close-ups for home screen consumption. I really hate (not too strong a word) large's work and the work of those who subscribe to his style.

There must be recognition that the director and design team's stage pictures are a vital and artistically valid part of any video transmission of a live theatrical event.

I guess the very worst I ever saw was a ballet video where the ballerina's pirouettes were shot only from the waist up so we could see how pretty she was. It was a BALLET, it was about footwork and the beauty of legs, and extension. We got close upper body shots. Stupid!

Alex said...

Thanks for commiserating. It didn't bother me quite as much in the Rosenkavalier HD cast last year, maybe because the literal set allowed one to keep one's bearings. But with the frequent Gudonov set up of just a lighted scrim and vast cobblestone floor the closeups become extremely disorienting and claustrophobic.

Are opera movie theatre audiences really clamoring for this kind of thing? Never ceases to amaze when those in charge don't have faith in the ability of OPERA PEOPLE to enjoy the plain-old musical theatre.

Florin said...


Last Saturday, November 13, those who love opera had the opportunity to see in a local cinema Don Pasquale, broadcasted live in HD from New York. If you had the chance to see it, you are now being invited to participate in a study about this experience.

My name is Florin, I am a Doctoral student in Toronto, Canada. I wish to know your thoughts and feelings, and to learn about the reasons you attend this kind of event, about the kind of experience you are having while attending a music concert, opera, theatre, ballet or else. Please, offer us 20 minutes of your time and let us know how was it. Just go to:

I am grateful for your willingness to participate in this study, where I work with colleagues at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, and University of Innsbruck in Austria. I hope to hear from you. Thanks!