* Notes *
The latest revival of Satyagraha closed Thursday night at the Metropolitan Opera. Phelim McDermott's tasteful production coheres beautifully: the set, lighting, video projections, and direction all come together to intensify the effect of the music. The transitions were skillfully handled, the projections never looked trite, and the choreography always seemed motivated and purposeful. An entire world was evoked, without the least bit of mawkishness. The stilt walking, elaborate puppetry, and tableaux were delightful, never competing with the music itself.
Both the orchestra and chorus achieved a nearly perfect transparency and were impressively synchronized. Most of the singing was also quite strong, including vocal fine contributions Alfred Walker (Parsi Rustomji) and Kim Josephson (Mr. Kallenbach). Rachelle Durkin's notes soared. Molly Fillmore and Maria Zifchak blended their voices nicely in their duet. Only Mary Phillips sounded shrill as Mrs. Alexander. As Gandhi, Richard Croft (pictured above, photograph by Ken Howard) sounded exceedingly lovely, especially in his last aria at the end of the opera.
* Tattling *
The audience for Philip Glass tends to be rather distinct from the one typically seen at the Met. Most audience members seemed engrossed in the performance, but unfortunately, there was a lot of electronic noise. Cellular telephones rang in every act. Oddly, no watch alarms were heard. As always, the Met audience was vocal about condemning other people's poor behavior. A woman with her illuminated mobile screen was asked twice to turn it off, as was a person whose phone would not stop ringing.
A woman rearranged her purse at the back of a balcony aisle. When the lights went down, she was unable to find her seat, and asked me, at full volume during the music, to help her. I could only shrug in dismay, and she took an empty seat in Row K.
Glass himself was present for the bows, before joining the Occupy Wall Street protesters just outside of Lincoln Center Plaza.