The seats were orchestra center, third row back, a generous gift of a friend who couldn't use them that night. We could see every flick of the eyebrow of the singers.
We arrived a little early and I sketched the patrons chatting. I used a black Caran D'Ache colored pencil in a Moleskine pocket sketchbook.
Even though the story takes place during the Crusades, Bartlett Sher's production conceives the action as an opera within an opera, set loosely in Rossini's time. Catherine Zuber's eclectic costumes mix medieval headdresses with hip panniers of the eighteenth century.
During the break between acts I sketched people in the lobby. One gentleman reviewed the playbill, his glasses hanging down below his nose, while others sipped champagne. When Liszt conducted the opera, he said it "bubbled like champagne," and distributed bottles of champagne to the audience, a perfect gesture for this effervescent opera.
In the story, the amorous Count Ory, played by Juan Diego Flórez, adopts a variety of disguises to woo ladies whose husbands have gone off crusading. In the second act he and his men gain access to the castle by pretending to be female pilgrims lost in a storm.
On the way home, the subway was jammed as tight as I've ever seen it. Everyone was bundled for the icy wind.
• If someone at the Met would like me to come and unobtrusively sketch backstage during a dress rehearsal, let me know. I'll let you use the sketches in your publicity.
• Review in New York Times
• The sketchbook was a gift from my pals over at White Cloud Worlds/WETA in New Zealand.
• Previous concert sketches on GJ:
Mass in C