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Anna Bolena in New York

I had looked on several occasions, but hadn’t been able to find any available tickets to Anna Netrebko’s Anna Bolena at the Metropolitan Opera. By chance, I mentioned it in passing to Jo, an old elementary school friend now living in New York.

She went to the website for a look and excitedly pinged me. Four tickets available!!! After just a moment’s hesitation, we snapped them up. Then, I went to look for flights. Hehe.

It was so so so good! First of all, I had read a lot of reviews that panned the staging, and the critics openly wondered about Peter Gelb’s push for non-operatic directors to produce operas. But I really loved the set. Yes it was grey, but I thought the somber colors suited the tone of the opera, and in any case, the lighting was really excellent. Very dramatic.

We enjoyed a performance from an evenly strong cast too. It was thrilling to be able to hear Anna Netrebko live, after having only heard her in movie theaters and at home for so long. Her voice was true and clear, soaring effortlessly to the upper levels of the balcony where we were seated. Her mad scene aria was out of this world. For a few whole stanzas, she sang completely unsupported. Gave me the goose pimples. As soon as her last notes died away, the audience as one erupted in a frenzy. Most exciting!!!

As we walked out of the enormous, plush theater, I felt a pang of regret, and a tinge of jealousy. Haha for a moment (or two) I wished I lived in NYC too, so I could have regular access to this beautiful opera house and it’s stellar line up of international stars. (And access to the hundreds and hundreds of good eateries too, but that is another story).

Oh well. Given the crazy high standard of living, I think it is still cheaper for us to live elsewhere and make the occasional sojourn to the city. There’s the Diana Damrau and Juan Diego Florez production of Elisir d’Amore this spring, and I have to say I am quite tempted to make another trip out.

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