Sunday, March 18, 2007

Il Barbiere di Siviglia

There's a wide line between a good performance and an amazing performance.

Last night's "Barber" at the Metropolitan Opera past far over that line. Far, far over.

If there was ever such a thing as a perfect performance of "Barber of Seville" this was definitely it. Mind you, I don't usually give out this kind of praise lightly. An opera production has to work extra hard for me to call it "perfect." Bartlett Sher's sets were fun and inventive to say the least. When the singers came to the front of the platform that overhang the orchestra pit, it was fantastic! The people in the front row could have reached out and touched the singers! The costumes looked wonderful! My favorite costumes definitely had to be Don Bartolo's and, of course, the Don Alonso wig.

Where to begin with the singing. Where to begin...
Let's start with John Del Carlo. A phenomenal Bartolo. Funny in all the right places and menacing in all the others. He is probably about 6-foot-6 because he made Peter Mattei look like a midget. (Maybe it was the white wig???) He did have, I feel, a little bit of trouble with the high note of his aria "A un dottore della mia sorte," but with all the coloratura that comes before, I can't blame him. Claudia Waite (Berta) also had a little problem with a note in her aria, but it didn't affect the rest of her performance at all! She was a wonderful Berta.
John Relyea (who seems to be singing everything at the Met this season) was a very exciting Don Basilio. His aria "La calunnia" was amazing. It was funny in that "I'm supposed to be scary, but instead I'm funny" kind of way. Every one in the smaller parts (Fiorello, the captain, etc.) was splendid. They did a very very excellent job.
On to the main singers of the evening: Juan Diego Florez, Joyce DiDonato, and Peter Mattei. Joyce DiDonato, I don't believe I can say anything that will really do her credit. Her Rosina was fun, witty, a little immature (but isn't she supposed to be?), and you really believe her when she says that she can turn to a viper. She was a damn good singer, too! "Una voce poco fa" went from pleasure to pleasure with every moment she sang. The "Music Lesson" scene was hysterical and sang very very very well. Everything about her portrayal was perfect. (Did you hear that? "Perfect." I used that word again.) Peter Mattei is simply the greatest Figaro out there. He embodies the character so wonderfully and dramatically, he never skips a beat. His acting was sublime and faultless. Mattei doesn't have a problem with distinguishing acting and singing. He does both wonderfully. There was an entire article in the NY Times about people like Peter Mattei who not only sing beautifully, but act beautifully, too. The opera really is Figaro's opera and last night was obviously Mattei's night to shine.

Now, you have to understand something about me and Juan Diego Florez. We have never met, and this is the first time I ever saw him live, in person, on stage, with him right there in front of me. (And I don't want to sound like a stalker/freak but...) Even though we have never met I plan on meeting and marrying Mr. Florez even though he was no idea who in the world I am...yet. Not to mention to extreme age difference, but who cares about those things anymore? That being said, I was in no way biased to think that Mr. Florez sang like an angel last night. =) His Count Almaviva is like no other Count Almaviva in the history of "Barber of Seville." I almost melted into the floor when he sang "Ecco Ridente." I wasn't sure if I could take the rest of it! The Don Alonso (aka "Music Lesson") part of the second act remains one of the funniest (and one of my favorite) moments in the opera. I say "pace e gioia" nearly every single day. His acting was incredible and his singing incomparable!! He not only sang well, but he didn't look half bad, either! His costumes were great! I loved them. I loved him!

Thank you Uncle Tommy for this great night!!! I had sooooo much fun! (PS thanks for putting up with my huge gasp whenever Juan Diego Florez came on the stage lol. I'm sure it got annoying <3<3)

Having said all that,
Pace e Gioia everybody!!!!


markoc said...

When do you have time to sleep? Sounds like you had lots of fun. Maybe next time your aunt and I are in NYC, we can go to a show together? She really wants to see Jersey Boys. Baci!!!!!

tjojr said...

I know this is a little late but your Uncle Tommy must be one GREAT guy. I'm sure he enjoyed the opera and being with you as much as you did.

Thanks for the GREAT birthday present!!!!!!!!!!!!