After a bit of an opera binge last weekend (Le Comte Ory and Wozzeck at the Met, and Riccardo Muti's concert version of Otello at Carnegie Hall), several friends steered me to this entertaining blog, Hyperbole and a Half, written and drawn by Allie Brosh. The current post, "Wild Animal (The Simple Dog Goes for a Joy Ride)," is a fine example of Brosh's deadpan style (sample panel below), in which she relates a seemingly ordinary incident that soon gathers its own peculiar momentum. Do take a few seconds to click on "About" and "About #2" on her menu bar.
Last night's moving performance of Wozzeck at the Metropolitan Opera began with a huge ovation when James Levine took the podium. (To the best of my knowledge, this was his first appearance since his much-publicized cancellations due to health issues.) Fast-forward to the audience cheering at the end, which was bittersweet: rather than joining the cast onstage, he remained at the podium, in the pit. The musicians stayed with him, many of them applauding as well.
In between, Alan Held (Wozzeck) and Waltraud Meier (Marie) gave impeccably sung, vividly drawn performances headlining an excellent cast, including Stuart Skelton in a strong debut as the Drum Major. And although I would not want to miss a minute of Mark Lamos's towering, shadow-ridden production (sets by Robert Israel, lighting by James F. Ingalls), one could simply close the eyes and listen to the Met Orchestra, breathing fiery life into Berg's eternally fascinating score.