Of course, one can do Gluck's dark opera in an un-Greek, un-Wilson, etc. way, as dark melodrama. But this requires not only a production cleaned of all fluffy stock gesture (not just for singers and chorus -- a depressingly large amount of choreographer Daniel Pelzig's contribution falls under this rubric too) but a sureness of dramatic line and response that neither the director nor his leading man (Domingo, as ever, substitutes a stagger and raised arm for engagement on the stage while showing a still-amazing voice) evidence. Only Susan Graham seems prepared to chart such a pared-down, moment-to-moment course, but she is both weighed down by the aforementioned plastique and given little to work with by castmates. (Paul Groves, as he did in the last Domingo vehicle, just seems bemused amid this dramatic mess.)
It's too bad, as debutant conductor Louis Langree (known here for his Mostly Mozart work across the plaza) led a remarkably vivid musical evening.
UPDATE (11:50AM): It occurs to me that my mention of the "erasing [of] connection and contrast by a uniform overlay of quasi-dramatic plastique" isn't exactly plain English. So I offer the words of a correspondent making more or less the same point:
[The] singing was great, but the action on stage was so high pitched and melodramatic throughout, that it was difficult to follow the narrative arc of the story or get emotionally involved in the characters' problems. Instead of /\ it was all just /