Would you think it strange that a disclaimer in the program insists No animals were harmed in the making of this production?
Would you believe that a 90 minute one act production can seem longer than a 5 hour opera?
While we're on the topic of
From The House of the Dead is an opera by Leoš Janáček based on Dostoevsky's novel Memoirs from the House of the Dead. It tells the stories of several prisoners being held in a Siberian jail. It was difficult to follow. The director's explanation:
There is no plot which can be easily described in a program synopsis...rather, the events resemble video clips - collections of impressions based on the memoirs of prisoners.
My impression was that Janáček would have enjoyed the 10 minute scene of everyone humping someone or something about as much as I'd like to sit with my mother and watch HBO's OZ.
The set, lighting, and projection design was truly incredible but the music (excepting the overture) and singing did not keep me engaged. I've heard opera in Czech before and was happy to find that my expectation of the notes being comprised solely of snorts and phlegm was misguided.
I stopped reading along with the surtitles about 1/3 of the way through and focused on the intricate and perfectly executed projection work. The release of a live falcon representing freedom got the wranglers more prolonged applause at the curtain call than the cast did.
My attempt to not make your sentence any harsher and end on a positive note finds me saying:
This opera was at least as enjoyable as any movie that might rely on a Larry King endorsement in its ad campaign.