Opera Review: Jane Glover Conducts ‘The Magic Flute’ at the Achieved

December 18th, 2013

Sara Krulwich/The New York Instances

The Magic Flute Nathan Gunn, centre, as Papageno in Julie Taymor’s manufacturing at the Metropolitan Opera.

On Monday night time the acclaimed British conductor Jane Glover became only the 3rd female to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. The situation was the revival of Julie Taymor’s 2004 generation of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” introduced as a family-pleasant offering for the holiday seasons, trimmed to a hundred minutes without intermission and carried out in a snappy English translation by J. D. McClatchy. Mozart’s fairy-tale opera, Ms. Taymor’s fanciful manufacturing and a winning forged delighted the audience, judging by the repeated laughter of the several youngsters in attendance.

But Ms. Glover’s appearance, and the magisterial overall performance and nuance she drew from the orchestra, ended up the news right here. When she appeared in the pit to consider a bow before the efficiency started, it appeared just so new and appropriate it’s amazing how inured Fulfilled regulars have grow to be to the company’s very poor report on behalf of female conductors.

The accomplished Ms. Glover, sixty four, is the director of opera at the Royal Academy of Tunes in London. She has conducted at Covent Backyard, the English Countrywide Opera, the Berlin Point out Opera, the Royal Danish Opera and other companies. It is not as if her function was unknown in New York, exactly where her appearances have integrated a Carnegie Hall debut with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in 2003 and, previous calendar year at the Juilliard College, a vibrant account of Gluck’s “Armide.”

Alas, like many fields, classical audio had a historical past of erecting boundaries to girls. But these days our orchestras are loaded with woman players, and there are so several well known feminine composers that one require rarely call attention to it. There are critical woman conductors as properly, but resistance to the notion of a woman authority figure on the podium seemingly lingers.

At the Met the gender barrier was damaged in 1976 when Sarah Caldwell manufactured a effectively-gained house debut conducting Verdi’s “La Traviata,” although Beverly Sills deserved substantial credit rating for this breakthrough: Invited to sing Violetta, she mentioned she would do so only if her colleague Ms. Caldwell was introduced in. Ms. Caldwell returned in 1978 for a string of performances of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore.” The Australian conductor Simone Youthful created her Met debut conducting Puccini’s “La Boh?me” in 1996, when she was presently a important determine in opera. Her final Achieved performances had been in 1998.

Of program, that Ms. Glover is creating her Fulfilled debut with what is, in influence, a children’s model of “The Magic Flute” could be seen as a small patronizing. However in another way, it was heartening that the younger people in the viewers, some of them probably attending their 1st opera, saw a lady in charge.

There are musical problems to conducting this variation of the rating. According to the Fulfilled, the uncut “Magic Flute” (not like intermission) runs about 150 minutes. To trim the rating by a 3rd, a couple of arias and duets ended up omitted, together with the overture other arias and ensembles had been shortened, even though the surgery was sensitively accomplished.

Ms. Glover’s spirited and sleek conducting definitely accounts for the general continuity and stream of the overall performance. “The Magic Flute” does have components of a vaudeville show, particularly in Ms. Taymor’s creation, with its fire-breathing statues and billowing puppets that dance and frolic. Ms. Glover conveyed the music’s whimsy and humor, but also its richness and thriller. The strings performed with extraordinary heat and clarity.

I am among the minority, it would appear, who locate Ms. Taymor’s production also circuslike and exotic. Nonetheless, it was charming to see and hear the young children as they seemed in wonderment at the serpent, a multi-sectioned monster propped up by a scampering row of dancers, chasing Prince Tamino, and giggled when the dastardly slave Monostatos (John Easterlin) uncovered his corpulent (phony) stomach.

Judging by the laughter and applause, the baritone Nathan Gunn, as the earthy, bungling bird-catcher Papageno, was the preferred of the young children. Mr. Gunn was in excellent, hearty voice and appeared to be possessing fun.

The tenor Alek Shrader delivers a sweet, very clear voice and earnestness to Prince Tamino. The wonderful lyric soprano Heidi Stober is an endearing Pamina. The bass-baritone Eric Owens lacked some degree of vocal electrical power and firmness on Monday. Even now, he brings gravity and elegance, as well as impeccable diction, to Sarastro. The coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova is a technically flawless, luscious-toned and chilling Queen of the Night time.

Soon after this effective and overdue Achieved debut, Ms. Glover should be presented an uncut opera to conduct. And in which is Anne Manson? She is one more conductor with international qualifications who has been the go-to selection for many productions at Juilliard, such as the American premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies’s searing opera “Kommilitonen!” in 2011. Guess who carried out the premiere of that challenging rating in London earlier that yr? Jane Glover.

“The Magic Flute” runs through Jan. 4 at the Metropolitan Opera 212-362-6000, metopera.org.

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