Hercules tonight concluded the Lyric’s 2010-11 season.

We left – again – at intermission. The singing was gorgeous, and we walked away humming (and are still humming) the Broadway-like “Jealousy” chorus piece. We did also like Peter Sellar’s modern take of Hercules by updating it to present day America: Hercules is a general who has just returned triumphant from war. But the ravages of war has left him a changed man, and his wife has to grapple with his changed psyche.

But the repetitive lines were getting tiresome – those same two/three lines sung over and over and over. And I really couldn’t stand George Tsypin’s set – “a ring of broken columns surrounding what looked like a pit of rocks that occasionally glowed red [and blue, and green, and orange, like a Christmas tree lighting], and a backdrop scrim studded with metal shards that shone like stars or fires“. And I was quite irritated by the affected gesturing and dramatization of the singers and chorus. Argh. Even the guy sitting behind me, appreciative as he was of Alice Coote and Lucy Crowe, couldn’t stop sniggering. So we left.

And so the Lyric season ends (still have 5 more Met streaming to catch though!). Of the 8 operas we saw at the Lyric this past season, we were disappointed with Macbeth, Lohengrin, and Hercules, not because of the music, but because of the staging/production. Our favorites were The Masked Ball, Mikado, Girl of the Golden West, and last Tuesday’s Carmen, in which Nadia Krastev was evocatively sensual in the title role (relative to Olga Bordodina whom we saw at the Met’s sumptuous production a few years ago).


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