Monday, September 29, 2008

La Gioconda at the Met 9/27/08

La Gioconda- Deborah Voigt
Laura- Olga Borodina
La Cieca- Ewa Podles
Enzo- Aquiles Machado
Barnaba- Jason Stearns ****
Alvise- Orlin Anastassov
Solo Dancers: Angel Corella and Letizia Giuliani

****replacing a sick Carlo Guelfi

Saturday was my first time seeing Deborah Voigt live and boy was I excited!!!! Despite the fact that I was dead tired and my dad could barely keep his eyes open it was a thrilling night!!! (Note: It was not the opera that made us sleepy!)

I was so pumped. Beyond excited. Here was a performance of an opera I had seen before, but not with as much knowledge as I have now. Two of my favorite singers, Olga Borodina and Deborah Voigt, and one of my favorite dancers, Angel Corella, all on one stage. It's almost too much!
Here's the low down:

I'll start with the men. Tenor Aquiles Machado was not my choice Enzo. Let's just put it that way, nicely. His "Cielo e mar" was, in my opinion, less than thrilling. He can hit the notes, just not in the nicest ways. Am I a spoiled opera-goer? Yes. Do I hide it? No. I want the best tenors all the time. =) His entrance was better than the rest of the night, which is weird. Usually it's the other way around.
The Alvise of Orlin Anastassov was so creepy. He went towards the curtain with the "dead" Laura behind it and I got chills up my spine! He sang very well, too. His Act III aria was evil and yet moving. That whole "I'm killing my wife, but only for the sake of family pride" works every time...but it never does (see also Un Ballo in Maschera).
Mr. Not-Peter-Gelb (you can tell I'm terrific with names) came in front of the curtain, to many boos and scoffs, before the performance to announce that baritone Carlo Guelfi (Barnaba) had a bad cold. Not catastrophic! At least Debbie Voigt doesn't have a throat infection! His cover, Jason Stearns, was a very very good baritone. Despite some severe rushing in the act II "Pescator" which caused him to be way ahead of the orchestra, he was quite amazing. His Barnaba was so evil he was almost Iago-like. In the act I "O Monumento" especially. He has a great future ahead of him I can tell, at the Met or not.

Now to the highly commendable ladies:
The best singers of the evening were by far the women.
Deborah Voigt was, in my humble and probably insignificant opinion, amazing! Granted, I have heard her better (ie. last year's Tristan, when she wasn't dying of consumption, etc.), but for the first time hearing her in the house it was fantastic. Might I add, if it's not too much, that she is looking stunning these days. Not that she needs to hear it from me, but she's gorgeous and is looking super healthy and what EVERYONE should aim to look like. I didn't even mind the brown wig so much. =) Back to her singing... Her "Enzo adorato, come t'aaammmooo" was really beautiful. A taaddd pinchy on the high, high note, but I, and I think a few other people, had to consciously stop myself from clapping. "Oh right, this isn't Zinka at the old house, just kidding!" The "Suicidio" was fantastic as well, of course!
Olga Borodina, an original member of the Cool Mezzo List, was amazing last night. I saw her two years ago in the same role and I can't decide which was better. She had a little trouble with the last note of her act II aria, but other than that her voice rang with beauty. She looked radiant as always and her booming voice magnifies her presence by 100%. That's adding to her already apparent stage presence. She's just a BEAST. She's amazing. I love her.
EWA PODLES! Where have you been all my life???? NEWEST MEMBER OF THE COOL MEZZO LIST. She got the longest ovation (of the singers) all night, and rightfully! She sang the heck out of La Cieca!!!!! Not to mention I seriously wondered whether she actually could see or not. She's perfect! Gorgeous voice and very natural acting. Legend.

I'd also like to say that I was not disappointed with any of the supporting roles. Namely David Crawford as Zuane, Tony Stevenson as Isepo, and Ricardo Lugo as a Monk. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of singers the Met got for these roles. Bravi!

The dancers were heavenly. Letizia Giuliani is an Italian ballerina. She was absolutely stunning; her feet are beyond words! I have this thing about dancers' feet, maybe it's because I'm a dancer too, I don't know. She has amazing feet, her arches go up to her eyes! She danced beautifully and she was equally matched in her partner, Angel Corella. Star of the American Ballet Theatre, Angel Corella is, in my opinion, one of the best danseurs currently dancing in the world.

Side Note: The chandeliers looking glorious. They sparkle like nothing else I've ever seen. It looks like it's shooting out rainbows! I noticed chandeliers that I think I had never seen before. They were so bright and beautiful. One thing.... That wonderful affect we all love when the lights come down and they raise the chandeliers: it's gone. Gone. I don't know why, but I guess someone decided that the lights should go down and the chandeliers be brought up in darkness. An eerie effect for the opening cello solo of La Gioconda, but I hope it will not be continued!
I demand old-fashioned pre-curtain routines! I shall not stand for it!

Happy Listening!!! =)


CVH said...


I love your blog. I have been reading for awhile and always check in. I am currently blogging about my singing experiences on my personal website. I am currently in Chicago singing Nourabad in The Pearl Fishers with Nathan Gunn and Nicole Cabell. Could we possibly set up a mutual link to each others site?

All best

Christian Van Horn

CaroNome said...

That sounds like a great idea! I checked out your website and it looks really great. Glad to see your a baseball fan, too! =)
Also, I don't know if it's my place being a lowly opera blogger and all, but in your videos you sound amazing! You have such a beautiful voice! Just letting you know lol. =)