Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Il Trovatore

Last night was the final performance of Verdi's Il Trovatore at the San Francisco Opera. I seem to have messed up. Instead of this cast:

* Manrico: Marco Berti
* Leonora: Sondra Radvanovsky
* Azucena: Stephanie Blythe
* Count di Luna: Dmitri Hvorostovsky

We got this cast:

* Manrico: Marco Berti
* Leonora: Sondra Radvanovsky
* Azucena: Malgorzata Walewska
* Count di Luna: Quinn Kelsey

D. swears she told me, but I guess I wasn't listening.

I was stunned to see that this was Sondra Radvanovsky's debut at the San Francisco Opera. The rumor mill says she is not scheduled to sing here any time soon. This is hard to understand. She is one of the best Verdi singer's around and was excellent in this hard to cast opera. Luisotti could be seen waving his baton for her in the applause. She performed the entire role in her bare feet, something that may account for the fact that she had turned her ankle and had to reblock her movements. You could see the brace on her leg. I thought she still moved well, and sang impressively.

I liked Quinn Kelsey, though I missed Dmitri. I would have preferred to see Stephanie Blythe as Azucena.

The aura of excitement that filled the opera from beginning to end is due to our new maestro Nicola Luisotti. Bravo maestro! Welcome to San Francisco.

My favorite thing to do in blogging is to give advice, so here goes. Marco Berti has a fine Verdi tenor voice, but exhibits a lot of the idiosyncrasies that seem to come with every Italian singer these days [excluding obvious exception]. If you go to hear opera excerpts along the Via Nazionale in Rome, you will hear some of these same problems. Too much punching and not enough phrasing. The punching is easy. The phrasing is hard. Piu legato. Sempre legato. Per favore. Pavarotti became the greatest singer of the twentieth century because Joan Sutherland taught him how to breathe. Get her to teach you.

People hate this, I know. It won't help you to hate me.

I'm comforting myself with this:

[See Kinderkuchen History 1850-70]

1 comment:

Paul said...

Hvorostovsky is one of the best Verdi baritones around these days, and he was also very good in the Met's HD cinecast of "Onegin" a season or two ago.

I think your advice is worthwhile. It seems proper breath control is one of the chief failings of younger singers these days. Having listened to many, many competitions over the past decade, the two things that cause the most difficulties involve either poor breathing/bad phrasing (those usually go together) or choosing the wrong repertoire for the voice type.

Keep callin' 'em as you see 'em!