Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lucia Di Lammermoor at the Met

Lucia- Annick Massis
Edgardo- Marcello Giordani
Lord Enrico Ashton- Mariusz Kweicien
Raimondo- John Relyea
Arturo- Stephen Costello
Alisa- Michaela Martens
Conductor- James Levine
Production- Mary Zimmerman

Okay, the sets weren't bad. I particularly enjoyed the mad scene staircase and the wedding ceremony. Both were very beautiful. The rest of the sets were a little "eh." It's better than some other Lucia's I've seen come from the Met (=O). The stage direction is what really got to me. Every minute Enrico puts his hand on another singers shoulder and after a while I wanted to yell "just stand in place!" There was some unnecessary movement during arias. It looked too forced, the acting was fine, but the direction looked like they didn't know what else to do. When Edgardo crashes the wedding he goes around kicking down all the chairs. For a minute it looks like he's just doing it for fun. Don't get me wrong, Marcello Giordani was ferocious in that scene. WOOF was he ferocious.
I really did like Annick Massis, although I think that some people's reviews of her were too praising. She was very good and her high notes were ringing and shining brightly and her coloratura is like nothing else, but it just lacked some special quality that, say, Beverly Sills or Joan Sutherland had. Her chest voice was booming and delicious, but like I said it lacked a "je ne sais quoi" that I like so much in particular singers. Her mad scene was amazing and the glass armonica was totally creepy. Her high notes and coloratura were, like I said, amazing and really gleamed in the mad scene. Marcello Giordani was brilliant as usual. He sounded so much better last night than he had in the opening night broadcast. He was just beautiful, acting and singing. Mariusz Kweicien and John Relyea were vocally outstanding and played their parts well. Kweicien as malicious as his character needed and Relyea as compassionate.
Two minor roles that really stole the show were Arturo and Alisa. Stephen Costello's 5 second part was stunning. He opened his mouth and we all leaned forward in our seats. It was incredible, I've never heard anything like it! I'm happy he is Edgardo for part of the run because he deserves it! Another stunning performance was Michaela Martens as Alisa. She's another one where she opened her mouth and we shot awake. Okay, that first scene is not exactly the most exciting, but when she came in the second scene her mezzo voice filled the house. During the sextet and the finale of the wedding scene she was the only female voice you could hear. I kept watching Annick Massis's mouth and then realized that it wasn't Lucia who was pounding out those gorgeous notes, it was her maid!
James Levine's conducting was flawless as can be expected. It took him a little while to make his entrance, which caused some nervous shuffling and giggles. Once he was out there he had total control, and he was workin it!!!!! Go Levine, go Levine, it's your birthday, it's your birthday. =)
My advice to Mary Zimmerman: You are very energetic, next time don't direct (let's be frank) an opera with only two exciting scenes. This opera doesn't require much movement, don't force it and next time maybe do something like Le Nozze di Figaro which is non-stop action!!

Happy Listening! =)

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