The night time after an incendiary Sondra Radvanovsky launched Cherubini to the Met and burned the home down Mozart started the rebuilding with a perfectly forged, vibrantly carried out Idomeneo.
On Wednesday, the Met revived its one-and-only staging of Mozart’s 1781 redemptive masterpiece virtually precisely forty years after its premiere. I attended that preliminary October 14, 1982 efficiency as a result of I like Idomeneo and it was my birthday, good excuses to go to New York for my first Met Mozart and my first Met new manufacturing premiere.
Though I’d already heard Luciano Pavarotti and John Alexander, I hadn’t but skilled reside three then-favorite performers: Ileana Cotrubas, Hildegard Behrens and Frederica von Stade, the final returning to the corporate after a six-and-a-half-year absence. The night time was a memorable one, and the dynamic classicism of Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s manufacturing impressed me mightily then and it did so once more in 2022.
I’ve attended quite a few Met revivals since then however few had been as vivid as Wednesday’s, the event of conductor Manfred Honeck’s debut. The Austrian-born Music Director of the Pittsburgh Orchestra is probably not well-known for his opera work, however he clearly ought to be. From the crisp first measures of the overture, he made it clear that we had been in for a particular night.
Honeck introduced a revelatory transparency to Mozart’s music drawing significantly ravishing taking part in from the Met’s winds. Tempi had been, for essentially the most half, swift but taut, majestic and transferring. He paced the difficult remaining scene impeccably from the horrifying prospect of Idamante’s sacrifice to the buoyant rejoicing at his longed-for rescue through last-minute deus ex machina intervention. His strategy couldn’t have been extra totally different from that of Rene Jacobs who led the final fabulous Idomeneo I attended, nevertheless it was equally distinctive. One prays that Honeck will probably be invited again usually to the Met!
His impeccable forged, with one exception, excelled. Even the small however essential position of the Excessive Priest was forged with rising dramatic tenor Issachah Savage who imbued his traces with a clarion urgency. Nonetheless, Paolo Fanale, returning to the corporate for the primary time since his Falstaff Fenton eight years in the past, struggled mightily with Arbace’s florid second-act aria.
Michael Spyres, the night’s third tenor, in-spyred one of the crucial fervent Met/Mozart ovations in my listening to after his sensible “Fuor del mar.” Maybe its fiendish coloratura flowed extra easily on his current Baritenor CD, however Wednesday’s fierce two octave-plus cadenza topped by a surprising excessive D-natural stopped the present.
Spyres’s nobly transferring Idomeneo wasn’t only a bravura triumph: singing strongly all through, he introduced extra colours to his portrayal of the tortured king than I had skilled from others within the Ponnelle manufacturing. Few have been sterner of their preliminary rejection of Idamante, and few extra poignantly resigned on the opera’s conclusion.
Early within the night Kate Lindsey as Idamante indulged in a bit an excessive amount of straight tone however finally grew hotter, much less mannered. Maybe inspired by Ying Fang, her luminous Ilia, she was at her greatest of their joyous love duet. Fang too started at barely lower than her greatest within the captive’s first recitative and aria, however then her heavenly “Se il padre perdei” suffused the large Met with radiance.
Usually the tough position of Elettra is forged with daring sopranos who can spit out the character’s fiery arias however come to grief within the aching lyricism of the second act’s “Idol mio.” Federica Lombardi, final spring’s wonderful Countess, proved that she might excel at each of Elettra’s extremes. Whereas her first aria of rage and disappointment was actually efficient, I didn’t get the diva chills I positively did throughout her scorching “D’Oreste d’Ajace.”
To not be outdone by Spyres, Lombardi concluded the aria with a smashing unwritten excessive C, a boffo interpolation I’d by no means heard in particular person. Although that invited one other roaring ovation, I’ll most bear in mind her meltingly beautiful “Idol mio” throughout which her softly spun excessive notes positively glowed: breathtaking!
Throughout Idomeneo, I assumed again to the earlier night’s Médée, the Cherubini sadly carried out by the Met within the impossibly outdated Lechner/Zangarini version. The Italian composer will need to have identified Mozart’s necessary transitional work which premiered 16 years earlier and recalled his Elettra when creating his personal offended, lovesick Mediterranean princess.
In case you can, seize the uncommon, illuminating alternative to soak up each operas inside a number of days of one another.
Images: Karen Almond / Met Opera