Sunday, November 20, 2022
HomeOperaAgain to the longer term « parterre field

Again to the longer term « parterre field

The venue was the newly restored and reconstructed Wu Tsai Theater at David Geffen Corridor (previously Avery Fisher Corridor).  There was an environment of the previous changing into new once more.

The night started with a short however poignant speech by Barry Tucker with a particular remembrance of his not too long ago deceased spouse Joan Kramer Tucker and thanking all for his or her help over the last two troublesome years.

Then we have been launched to our award winner, Ms. Blue, in a really vivid banana yellow silk fishtail night robe with reddish purple accents, singing “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca, a task she has carried out in Europe however not on the Metropolitan Opera.  Blue, who is just the second African American Tucker award winner (the final was Lawrence Brownlee in 2006) was joined on the rostrum by the Gala’s first feminine conductor, Speranza Scappucci.

Blue’s studying of the acquainted Puccini solo revealed a voice of beneficiant proportions and luscious timbre—a world-class instrument.  Nonetheless, Blue was singing phrase by phrase failing to hyperlink every measure right into a cohesive musical assertion constructing as much as the ultimate climactic phrases.  Many of those phrases have been beautiful, some offhand and a number of other musically and rhythmically wayward.

Pianissimos have been lacking in motion; it was all slightly loud and matter of truth.  The aria did not cohere although all of the voice on this planet was there to make it occur.  Alternatively, this is a deluxe lirico-spinto instrument within the mildew of Leontyne Value and Martina Arroyo that might, if correctly guided and coached, tackle the most important Verdi and Puccini heroines and fill them out with beneficiant vocal quantity and tonal magnificence.  (Tosca is already behind her and Aida is on the horizon).

The 2014 and 2018 winners, tenor Michael Fabiano and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn entered with the Act I duet “Me voici… A moi les plaisirs” from Gounod’s Faust.  Fabiano’s tone has darkened, and the title function of Gounod’s Faust is one which he has put behind him.

But his excessive musical power introduced vitality to this over acquainted rating whereas the tone had extra ping, legato suavity and tonal juice than I heard in his current Cavaradossi in Tosca on the Met.  Van Horn’s tender grained bass-baritone leaned in the direction of gallic magnificence and boulevardier insouciance slightly than coarse overbearing blaring.  Each singers discovered humor on this scene of diabolical bargaining and the viewers responded with laughter.

Veteran soprano famous person Renée Fleming returned with a shock choice that paired the 1990 Tucker Award winner with this 12 months’s awardee—the letter duet “Sull’aria” from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Fleming resuming her previous function of Rosina with Blue as Susanna.  Fleming sounded as candy and creamy-toned as of yore whereas Blue was a vivacious Susanna with an earthier lush sound.  It was a contented second the place two totally different generations got here collectively—Fleming sounding rejuvenated beside Blue in full-bloom whereas wanting beautiful.

Bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Inexperienced bounded onstage as Escamillo in Carmen with the acquainted Toreador Track “Votre Toast”.  Mr. Inexperienced, who has a burgeoning worldwide profession, was stuffed with power and voice—the tone is puissant and encompasses each the baritone and bass registers simply (which is essential because the tessitura of this warhorse aria is hard and rangy).  The voice is juicy with chew and a fantastic prime register.

Nonetheless, for all his musicality and vocal excessive power one thing was lacking—targeted diction and tonal level.  The phrases wanted to come back ahead—roundness and richness of tone is clearly Inexperienced’s main focus.  We had a trio of star cameos as Frasquita, Mercedes and Carmen of their transient “L’amour” phrases—Fleming as Frasquita (a task she carried out many years in the past in her skilled debut with Virginia Opera), Blue as Mercedes and a fairly steamy smoldering Joyce DiDonato as Carmen!

Tenor Stephen Costello, presently on the Met in Verdi’s La Traviata, gave us one other facet of center Verdi with “Quando le sere al placido” from Luisa Miller.  Mr. Costello is a case of the entire being lower than the sum of its components.  The tone was straightforward and brilliant, his musicianship adroit and Costello is slim and nonetheless boyishly good-looking at 40.

But Costello is as all the time bodily awkward onstage with lifeless eyes regardless of being skinny and enticing.  (It’s an business extensive fallacy that skinny, bodily enticing singers are mechanically higher actors and extra charismatic than fats, older singers.  (My companion stated that Costello reminds him of Sheldon in The Massive Bang Principle.)

His timbre is shallow and bland regardless of the simple brilliant excessive notes, good phrasing and vocal ease.  His tone in the course of the cavatina retained lyrical sweetness however turned skinny and parched within the extra outspoken anguished outbursts of tenor despair.

Nadine Sierra was scheduled to sing “Mi chiamano Mimì” from La Bohème and be part of Costello in a duet from Roméo et Juliette.  As all the time, there have been final minute cancellations and Sierra, who had carried out Traviata the night earlier than, felt underneath the climate and was obliged to cancel.

Her substitute was Italian soprano Eleanora Buratto.   At the moment showing as Elisabetta in Don Carlo on the Met, Buratto carried out “Un bel dì” and the Act I really like duet from Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” with Costello as her Pinkerton.  Buratto’s geisha proved simply as lovable, buttery of tone and contemporary and spontaneous because it was final 12 months on the Met in her function debut.

In contrast to a number of different contributors within the night’s festivities, Mme. Buratto feels the textual content and tasks emotional specificity with intenzione—she is aware of what she is singing about, what it means to her character and why they’re singing and what the stakes are for the character.  The voice is full and golden, and he or she performs with coronary heart—she is already changing into a neighborhood favourite and I hope she returns typically.  Costello within the Butterfly duet was correctly callow but additionally ardent and had good chemistry together with his soprano.

The tall and sure, strapping Van Horn returned with the bass solo “Infelice” adopted by the rousing cabaletta “Infin che un brando vindice” from Verdi’s Ernani.  Mr. Van Horn had sweeping legato phrasing within the aria and many vocal sprint within the cabaletta with long-held excessive notes assisted by the male members of the New York Choral Society.

Blue returned with Ryan Speedo Inexperienced within the “Crown!” confrontation scene from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Mr. Inexperienced’s Crown was correctly menacing with a snarl in his darkish tone and a muscular trim body.   Nonetheless, I might barely make out one sentence of his textual content—his stage presence made up for it and the voice is deluxe.  Blue sounded virtually girlish and flirtatious as Bess and didn’t appear threatened, shocked or intimidated by being reunited with the now fugitive Crown.

On the finish, this Bess appeared to flirtatiously beckon Crown into the bushes on her exit which isn’t actually in character?  Shouldn’t her ultimate capitulation be humiliating and an try to keep away from one other beating or rape?  Each have been vocally resplendent, and Ms. Blue was now modeling a putting and changing into midnight blue night robe with sparkly black underskirt.

A vocal pressure of nature, 2011 Tucker Award winner Angela Meade introduced herself in a task that acquired away—Elisabetta I in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux which she was scheduled to carry out on the Met within the cancelled 2021-2022 season.   Meade tore into the aria-cabaletta finale “Vivi, ingrato a lei d’accanto… Quel sangue versato” with sweeping gales of wealthy ruby coloured tone and good excessive notes.

Clearly now Meade is a dramatic soprano with coloratura slightly than a dramatic coloratura soprano.  She sings huge Verdi like Aida, Elisabetta in Don Carlo (developing on November 23rd) with roles in Forza and Ballo within the works.  The phrasing was epically big-scaled, the feelings targeted extra on anger than grief or despair.  This ageing queen was nonetheless formidable and to be feared – little pathos and no frailty have been evident.

Nonetheless, pianos have been attacked in a fragile overtone barely off the physique of the voice, gutsy chest tones offered distinction to the floated soprano traces and coloratura phrases have been attacked fearlessly with precision.  The viewers erupted right into a standing ovation that lasted a number of minutes on the finish of her choice.  It was the most important response to a solo aria all night.

Russell Thomas, who can be singing Don Carlo to Meade’s Elisabetta later this month, caught to Verdi with the demanding tenor aria “Oh, tu che in seno d’angeli” from La Forza del Destino.  Once more, I used to be impressed with the burnished high quality and tonal sturdiness of his instrument.

Nonetheless, the shortage of ping in his in any other case safe higher register, crooned piano phrases off the voice and a slightly opaque timbre dimmed my enjoyment of his very in a position and extremely achieved efforts in troublesome music.  Additionally, Thomas didn’t evoke the longing of a lovelorn outsider separated from his misplaced love, it was all targeted very outward with little inside struggling.

Fabiano didn’t sing the listed “O Paradiso” from Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine (or L’Africana) however opted for the Lamento di Federico “É la solita storia del pastore” from Cilea’s L’Arlesiana.  Like Buratto, Fabiano invests within the textual content and the state of affairs and sings with ardour and boldness.  Although he might have sometimes oversung, he gave his all and the viewers liked him.

Little private anecdote right here.  About 12 years in the past, an aged homosexual vocal coach who used to ask me over to his condo on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn died.  Mario/Gigi had partitions and partitions of Italian vocal scores and photographs of previous Italian opera stars together with signed photographs of Olivero and Zeani et al.  When he died lots of his results have been bought however a number of have been simply deserted or thrown right into a dumpster outdoors his constructing as a result of they have been thought-about unsellable.

His mates and I rescued a few of these gadgets together with an previous, tattered German softcover rating of Cilea’s L’Arlesiana.  Moderately than hold it to myself, I made a decision to reward it to a younger proficient tenor who may sing the opera sometime.  After a efficiency on the Met, I waited for Michael Fabiano to come back out (we had communicated on Fb previous to that and have been pleasant) and I introduced him with the dog-eared, pale rating which he was delighted to obtain.  His efficiency final night time made me hope that at some point he’ll carry out Federico onstage in a whole efficiency of L’Arlesiana.

Mezzo-soprano (and 2002 Tucker Award winner) Joyce DiDonato is a risk-taker and thinking-outside-the-box performing artist.  She selected an unfamiliar piece:  the multipart scena “Misera, dove son! …Ah! non son io che parlo!” from Gluck’s Ezio.  She is one other one who will get it.  Intention, dedication and funding abounded as she tore into the anguished recitative after which hurled her voice into the dramatic allegro aria.

Gluck’s dedication to remodeling classical opera right into a car for emotional fact and dramatic storytelling discovered an sympathetic interpreter in DiDonato.  Sure, there are richer, extra highly effective mezzo-soprano voices on the market however few are extra telling or persuasive in her now very rigorously chosen and specialised repertory.  I’m questioning what DiDonato may do because the heroine of Gluck’s Alceste or Armide.

The ultimate solo performer proved to be a scene-stealer and consummate showman: Sir Bryn Terfel who returned to Lincoln Heart after a few years absence from our shores.  He carried out two contrasting unannounced items—“Son lo spirito che nega” from Boïto’s Mefistofele and “If I Had been a Wealthy Man” from Bock & Harnick’s Fiddler on the Roof.

Terfel proved to nonetheless have plenty of voice and much more character.  His Mephisto was a sarcastic, confrontational bullyboy with plenty of vocal snarl, lengthy held excessive notes and a showstopping fortissimo virtuoso finger whistle!  His low notes nevertheless couldn’t compete with a Ghiaurov or Siepi (or Nazzareno De Angelis for the traditionally inclined).

Terfel was persuasive in Tevye’s monologue earlier than the “Wealthy Man” showstopper and made one hope he’ll maybe carry out the function on the English Nationwide Opera at some point (if it nonetheless exists after the U.Ok. authorities subsidy slashing and studies of a transfer to Birmingham).  He might use somewhat extra Yiddishkeit although he was actually recreation.  Terfel stays a vivid, theatrical performer with a larger-than-life instrument and character—uncommon commodities in nowadays when “regular” and “good” are most well-liked.

The night resulted in a grand style with the Triumphal Scene from Act II of Aida.  Angel Blue was Aida, Russell Thomas Radamès, Christine Goerke (in her solely look that night had sung Elektra in DC the night time earlier than) as Amneris, Reginald Smith, Jr. as Amonasro, Christian Van Horn as Ramfis and Ryan Speedo Inexperienced because the King supported by the New York Choral Society.

Blue was a promising Aida although she used a rating.  Goerke was not utilizing the rating (she is unveiling Amneris later this season in Detroit I imagine) and was vocally imposing in her higher reaches however sounded a bit underpowered in low chest phrases.  The remainder have been energetic and vocally current.  The refrain was positioned behind the stage within the excessive tiered seating within the rear of the auditorium.

Maestro Scappucci appears to be a discover:  she is delicate and energetic, is a singer’s conductor (typically turning round to look at what they have been doing) and has a pure idiomatic really feel for Italian opera however was versatile sufficient to be convincing in Bock & Harnick and Gershwin.

Scappucci I imagine led a number of pupil performances at Juilliard and ought to be acquainted from that and I hope she continues to be a well-known presence on the Met.  The members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra performed properly for her and appeared comfy along with her management.  Good rapport throughout.

Additionally, one other debut for me was the Wu Tsai Theater at Geffen Corridor.  The issue with the previous Avery Fisher Corridor was the muddied acoustics which might fade within the rear of the orchestra stage and the sense that the stage was all the time distant and disconnected from the viewer.  Say what you’ll in regards to the renovation, THAT HAS BEEN CORRECTED.

The auditorium has been narrowed and the orchestra seats raked greater than earlier than.  The stage appears nearer to the viewer, and the sound could be very current and proper in your face.  Now it’s a brilliant, high-definition sound acoustic, brightly lit with little shadows or heat ambient glow.  Completely different folks have totally different ears that hear issues in another way and have differing tastes as to what constitutes an satisfying aural expertise.  I felt that I might hear each element of the music and that nobody needed to push to be heard.

I used to be on the orchestra stage however have heard good studies of the sound high quality within the upper-level seats.  The look of the auditorium is fashionable with plenty of carved wooden.  The ceiling is ugly with rows of lighting devices surrounded by what seems to be like silver bubble wrap.  The lobbies are bigger, full of colourful gentle shows and murals and appear to be designed for socializing.  There’s a hip fashionable museum look in regards to the ornament just like the Guggenheim or Getty Museum or one thing.

As for the gang—it was giant and star-studded with operatic celebrities previous and new and many distinguished business machers.  I noticed Eve Queler, Sherrill Milnes, Brian Jagde, Matthew Epstein, Ken Benson, Quinn Kelsey, Benjamin Bernheim and there have been many others I missed.  Everybody appeared thrilled to be there, dressed to the nines and having enjoyable.  That was what we have been lacking the final three years.

So, we’re again—now on to the longer term!

Photographs: Dario Acosta




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