Saturday, March 24, 2007

Barber of Seville in HD

I saw the simulcast of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia from the Metropolitan Opera in Albuquerque. It was very fine. The sound was a little loud, but the quality was excellent.

Figaro..................Peter Mattei
Rosina..................Joyce DiDonato
Count Almaviva....Juan Diego Flórez
Dr. Bartolo.............John Del Carlo
Don Basilio.............John Relyea

Conductor...............Maurizio Benini
Production..............Bartlett Sher

 I hardly know where to start. The acting and general theatrical business was especially well done. Maurizio Benini, the conductor, understood the special qualities of Rossini and got his tempos right.

So I'll start where I want to start. I know John Del Carlo. We were in the same Julius Caesar at Pocket Opera many years ago. He decided on a career as a buffo bass, and has appeared in these types of parts in San Francisco, parts like Don Pasquale and the man in the Marschallin's morning visits. I thought he was good, maybe just OK. For a buffo he has grown in his Fach beyond what I would have imagined. His Dr. Bartolo was very fine indeed. It helped that he actually is the age for a Bartolo. He kept pace in the coloratura with the greatest coloratura tenor I have certainly ever seen. He was wonderfully funny. Adorable even. Bravo.

What could one think to say about Juan Diego Florez? He is king. At the end of the opera they revived the aria "Cessa di piu resistere" just for him. This aria is familiar as the finale of La Cenerentola, but sounds wonderfully different in his voice. He was funny, beautiful, stunning.

Joyce DiDonato, a girl from Kansas, had her hands full competing with the men. My heart did not beat for her. Perhaps I am not destined to love another coloratura mezzo. Don't get the wrong idea. I liked her.

Peter Mattei was good. Juan Diego upstaged him too often.

The big aria brought into Barber for Florez was created for this opera and later cut because the soprano didn't want it, didn't want the tenor competing with her. Later it was inserted into La Cenerentola. Perhaps this is why Angiolina is a mezzo.

Opera, beautiful opera, heart stopping, thrilling, wonderful opera. Gelb is starting at the top.


Paul said...

Even though I'm not much of a Rossini fan (TRULY too many notes for me), I thought this was a terrific production. I can hardly wait until next season, when JDF does his "La Fille du Regiment" on the big screen. Hey Doc - if you're in ABQ, does that mean you're headed to Denver? If so, drop by the house for dinner. Send me an e-mail and I'll give you my phone number.

Anonymous said...

I was at the opera on the 24th. The audience adored Bartolo's hamming it up with the camera. How did that play at the theater?

Dr.B said...

In the movie theaters in the intermission there was an extended comedy of Bartolo leading his comic servant from the dressing rooms,through the backstage area and out on to the stage just before the curtain up. The servant kept wandering off to look at the sets as they passed by and Bartolo had to pull him back to work.

This comic role was a genius stroke and was well established by the intermission. Hamming for the camera was very funny, by then also well established.

Dr.B said...

Paul, thanks for the invitation. I went to Flagstaff instead.