Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Tenor Earns His Brownie Points and an Audience Member Converts!

Romeo and Juliette
by Charles Gounod
The Metropolitan Opera

Romeo- Joseph Kaiser ********
Juliette- Anna Netrebko
Mercutio- Stephane Degout
Gertrude (nurse)- Jane Bunnell
Tybalt- Marc Heller
Stephano (page)- Isabel Leonard

Let's start with the convert. I have officially converted to the other side of the Anna Netrebko train tracks. Sure, she had that train wreck "Casta Diva", but you all have to see this woman live! Yes she trashed herself around in her skimpy costumes on stage, but her voice was absolutely beautiful! Those recordings you hear and the videos you watch of her really don't mean anything! The real voice is heard in the house! Some singers sound better on recordings, but Anna sounds better in person. MUCH better in person. Go buy tickets! You won't be disappointed! Sure, she will never have my favorite voice and she will never be my favorite singer, but suddenly she has really proved herself. Brava, Anna!

********So, last night the lights go down and we see the ominous spotlight go to the left side of the stage. A man in a suit comes out and the tension builds. We know that man...
"Hello, I'm Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera." *applause* (I'm thinking "O God, who cancelled?? ANNA?????")
"Anna Netrebko is FINE."
*laughs from the audience*
"In fact, every member of our cast is fine," ("Oh my God, Domingo?!?!?") "except for our tenor, Joseph Kaiser." *groans and chattering*
"He woke up with a cold this morning, so we got the fantastic tenor, MARCELLO GIORDANI!!" *cheers and applause*

Wow, does Peter Gelb loooooove Giordani now! My question is, where was Alagna? He sang this role a few nights ago and he's still in New York for Butterfly!! Oh well, I'm glad we got Giordani, I don't like Alagna. Marcello Giordani sounded absolutely gorgeous last night. He sounded much better than he did in the opening night broadcast. His high notes were mind blowing and even though he only had a few hours to learn the staging, he didn't seem that uncomfortable. The prompter was heard at least twice before the first intermission, but he hasn't performed this role in years, so it's understandable. Bravo, Marcello! I'm so glad he stepped in. (PS. His high C's were louder than Anna's. No other Romeo so far has accomplished that!)
Anna Netrebko sounded so fantastic. I realized why I didn't like her voice. Some of her vowels sound funny sometimes, but I didn't notice half the time. Especially during the balcony scene (in my opinion) she sang so wonderfully that my fellow audience members sank into the background and all it was was her and Romeo on stage. It was so cool! Her acting is also incredible. I don't even have to go on about that, everyone already knows she's a stage animal. =)

Here cooooooomes the new kid in town! Isabel Leonard as the page knocked my socks off! She's a graduate of the Juilliard School and this role is her Met debut. She received a huge ovation at the curtain calls and she totally deserved it! This hotsy-totsy new mezzo might just be the new big star, so watch out for her. That's I-S-A-B-E-L-L-E-O-N-A-R-D who grew up right here in New York. Brava, girlfriend!
Now for Maestro Domingo's conducting. I think I passed out for a moment when he first came out into the orchestra pit. I started shaking I was so overwhelmed. Think about it, I was just 100 feet from one of the greatest tenors on the face of the earth. =0 Boggles my mind. His conducting was good. I just felt that he separated the orchestra from the singers. He kind of made a pillow for the singers so they could sing on top of the orchestra. There was no blending of strings and voice, you either noticed only the singing or only the orchestra. Which was okay at some points, because some of those musical interludes are so amazing (Go Gounod!) and some of those vocal lines are outstanding!

Finally, the technical glitch. GASP! A technical glitch at the Met? Is that possible? Well, let's just say that by the end of the performance some poor schmo was cleaning out his desk. During the balcony scene the backdrop is the night sky with a galaxy (or something that looks like a galaxy...) in the center. Apparently the galaxy was supposed to change into another pretty space picture... but instead we got a blank white light, distracting us from the singers for a moment, and then the new space picture. My mom and I looked at each other saying "Are we seeing a slide show? Oops, Peter Gelb just fired someone!"

Happy Listening! =)

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