Thursday, August 25, 2005
I'm recovering from surgery and using the time continuing to work my way through all the unwatched opera videos in my collection.
In 1993 Verdi’s I Lombardi was staged at the Met with Luciano Pavarotti, Samuel Ramey and Lauren Flanigan, a woman who specializes in screamer rolls like Lady Macbeth and the heroine of I Lombardi. Or does the role just seem like a screamer part because of how she sings it?
The insensitivity of staging this opera, which is about crusades and infidels, is simply staggering. Maybe I’m seeing it from the current post-9-11 perspective, but didn’t we see this coming at all?
The music is good early Verdi. The plot is just people hating and killing—relatives, Saracens, anyone—and then whining about it afterward. Pavarotti, singing at his peak, plays the only character who starts out Moslem, and he seems pretty nice, comparatively speaking. People pray a lot, when they’re not killing someone. I nominate this opera for putting back on the shelf.