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Opera on SkyArts2
The Enchanted Isle from the Met

William Christie: David Daniels: Danielle de Niese: Joyce DiDonato: Plácido Domingo.

Many UK readers must be seeing opera on Sky Arts 2 as we do, so a few comments may be appropriate. This note is prompted by the pastiche compilation The Enchanted Isle from the Met, with the music by Handel, Vivaldi etc in the safe hands of William Christie, which has been transmitted (repeatedly) in recent weeks...

Great fun to watch, as youll find from the video clips on YouTube, e.g. Caliban's Dream with Domingo as Neptune [R].

There were snags: the inevitable longueurs because of the da capo structure of most of the arias were increased by the crass English subtitling, with banal phrases repeated on screen repeated endlessly ad absurdum.

The excellent diction made one wish they could be turned off, as is easily done on DVD. [The clip linked above has the subtitles in French, which is preferable...!]

Exploring the DVD (because Sky transmissions can be limited in information provided) one finds that it had disappointed purchasers at its first release, with serious flaws reported by correspondents.

Apparently the first of the two DVDs would not play! And the voices were too forward v. the orchestra (not so as transmitted on Sky, I thought). Lastly, the information in the booklet was perfunctory, with no track listing for identifying sources of the arias... So let's hope for a re-release with these problems addressed.*

Peter Grahame Woolf

* On line, I found a sample of what was missing, essential for serious listener/viewers:

- - Such meager consolation -- No, I'll have no consolation (Vivaldi: Bajazet RV 703 - "Verrò, crudel spietato"). Masque of the Wealth of all the World Wealth and love can be thine (Rameau: Les Indes galantes - "Tendre amour"). Parade (Rameau: Les fêtes d'Hébé, Troisième entrée: Les Dances, Tambourin en rondeau). The Women and the Unicorn (Rameau: Les fêtes d'Hébé, Troisième entrée: Les Dances, Musette). The Animals (Jean-Féry Rebel: Les Éléments, Tambourins I & II). The Freaks -- Chaos (Rameau: Hippolyte et Aricie, Act I, Tonnerre). Waking (Rameau: Les Indes galantes - "Tendre amour," reprise). Act II Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=PLAE235E79419C208D

The Enchanted Island Libretto by Jeremy Sams Metropolitan Opera 2012 Conductor: William Christie Prospero: David Daniels Ariel: Danielle de Niese Sycorax: Joyce DiDonato Caliban: Luca Pisaroni Miranda: Lisette Oropesa Helena: Layla Claire Hermia: Elizabeth DeShong Demetrius: Paul Appleby Lysander: Elliot Madore Neptune: Plácido Domingo Ferdinando: Anthony Roth Costanzo