I've been so proud of my enjoyment of opera via the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday HD transmissions in movie theaters. This is my 5th year and I am really pleased when I look back at my mental lists of personal favorites and definite losers. Sadly, the losers seem to all be modern operas whose conceptions have been aggressively encouraged by "the Met" and other opera companies. They want American contemporary operas. Well, I'm sorry, folks, but Ades and Adams ain't Verdi.
I like melody and repetitive themes and music you can hum and remember. Not cacophony and discord and really screechy voices and no rhythm pattern. The Tempest as performed Saturday in HD was difficult to endure. My hearing was tested last year when I had a persistent ear infection and so I know it is perfect. Perhaps too much so. I was in pain during Ariel's arias (?) in the first act of The Tempest. And Simon Keenlyside has a marvelous voice, but his body (like mine) has suffered the ravages of time. Put a leotard on, sweetie! I lasted until the intermission when Deborah Voight was interviewing the singers of Ferdinand and Miranda. When they said their favorite music was in the 2nd act (just concluded), I realized that the "best" was over. Ta, ta.
I lasted through "Nixon in China", actually enjoyed the staging of huge puppets in "Gandhi"--but not the atonal chanting, and "Doctor Atomic" was at the bottom until this production of "The Tempest". But this was the first time I actually quit mid-opus. Ah, well! I'll keep coming and exposing myself to different composers and singers and hopefully none will be as disappointing as this one.