I went to see the New York City Opera’s production of Mosè in Egitto at City Center , and I wrote about it for Bachtrack.
In recent seasons, the New York City
Opera has largely limited itself to chamber operas. Its newest
production marks a renewed ambition: Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto, a
proto grand opera that ends with nothing less than the parting of the
Red Sea. Fortunately this scrappy but worthwhile performance showed that
the company can tackle large-scale works on its own terms, albeit with a
few stumbles along the way.
You can read the rest here. It was a frustrating afternoon: some very talented performers and interesting production ideas (Harry Kupfer’s Rossini video game) that ultimately didn’t quite make a full show. I still think it’s worth seeing, though: it’s a unique spin on an unusual piece, and that’s something in itself.
A few other notes, though. I wish City Opera would show some care with its presentation. (Their website doesn’t even give the address of the theater where they’re performing. I had to Google it.) This performance was trumpeted as the “original version.” Putting aside the problematic construction of “original” and its implied superior status, that can’t be true: the third act of the first version was lost, as you can read in the introduction of the critical edition. (This production didn’t even use that critical edition; the program credits Hendon Music/Boosey and Hawkes.) I would have liked some program notes, but maybe I’m alone there. If you’re going to claim scholarly status, you have to do your homework.
But enough of that, the actual performance did exceed my expectations. The LED video (more like a TV than projection scenery) occasionally looks like the VHS version of the Met’s Parsifal Blu-Ray. Jayce Ogren isn’t a Rossini conductor but the orchestra is sounding much better than it did last season and it’s good for the City Opera to have him on board as music director. There’s some good singing. So still recommendable, if you like Rossini.
Photo copyright Carol Rosegg.