Was the audience rowdy? I'm a fussy old lady. I like everyone to be quiet, not hooting and hollering and yelling "yaaaas, queen!" over all the high notes and runs (especially since it's usually the straight white girls). I was thinking that might die down over previews but I remember hearing that after everyone was familiar with Hamilton, that show got plagued with sing-alongs from superfans.
I saw Agrippina at the Met last night. On the whole, it was very, very good. 7/10. I took off points because it definitely dragged at times and I was feeling the almost 4 hour running time. I normally and do my best to avoid "modern" opera productions. I like the semi-historical fancy costumes and the big productions and even changing the setting to another time period that's still in the past, I feel like a lot of times you lose important context. But I liked the Agrippina update. Because of the names and some other stuff, I don't think you can ever lose the sense that it's Rome. But I don't believe them when they say it's contemporary/set in present day. This is a version of Rome that's very 1960's + some 90's/2000's. Joyce DiDonato as Agrippina was dressed AMAZINGLY. Her black negligee with the robe, all the power suits with deep v's and tight pencil skirts. I loved everything they put her in. The black hair worked about as well as Kelli O'Hara in Bridges but from the family circle, it didn't bother me much. The way the younger characters dressed would not be cool to anyone now. Nero is like a punk/emo kid (more emo) at first with a faux hawk with frosted tips. Then he switches to this perfect slim fitting suit with a skinny tie. One of the gay characters was in a sheer lace top. It all conjures up a feeling of Italian glamour but also tackiness and excess. Perfect as an update of Rome. The costumes were my favorite part. They said so much about the characters and really set an aesthetic for the show.
For me, the problem with this opera is that the music and the libretto are very repetitive. So if a character you're not into is having a moment, they have that moment for 5-10 minutes, singing the same thing over and over without much change in the melody. To me, the worst offenders were Poppea and Ottone because I just found the "heroic" young couple so tiresome. She didn't bother me too much but there's a sequence at a bar when she just will not shut up. With him, I was over it every time he sang. I just don't like Iestyn Davies' voice. I thought I just hated countertenors but I actually didn't mind Nicholas Tamagna as Narciso. He had more of a fierceness and vibrancy that I find lacking in Davies' voice which always sounds very pretty and muted to me. Back to the bar, this production made the hit or miss decision to try and keep the audience engaged even with the repetitive music and the long running time. Some of this was strong acting from the leads. But there was also a lot of movement choreography, if not outright dancing, or miming or fully moving the action to a different setting so there could be something happening during what would otherwise be terribly boring sections. I can see how some people would hate this but given the 4 hour running time, I was grateful they were trying. This is not an opera production where everyone is just parking and barking and the chorus stands around completely still. I felt like there was some actual proper direction closer to what you might see in musical theater and while it was sometimes over the top and obvious, I think it helped more than it hurt.
To me, the standouts were Joyce DiDonato and Kate Lindsey. She was just incredibly fierce as Agrippina. Sexy and scheming and smart. It was so nice to have a female villain be so clever and to not have to fall apart or be horribly punished at the end. And Nero was the most I've ever enjoyed a trouser role. There was the typical posturing but it worked for the character and Kate Lindsey gave it her all. Hell, at one point she was singing a whole phrase while SIDE PLANKING.
They were taping it last night. If it's on PBS, I highly recommend watching it and fast-forwarding when you get bored. It's definitely worth checking out.