Man, do I love Verdi! Caught David McVicar’s new production of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera in the cinema. I’d previously watched a performance at the Lyric, and tonight, was reminded of just how gorgeous that opera is.
The music just sucked me in – Ulrica’s portentous fortune telling aria, Gustavo and Amelia’s anguished love duet, their panicky trio with Renato right before the assassins arrived, the assassins’ chorus scene etc. What a terrific cast we had too: Sondra Radvanovsky, Marcelo Álvarez, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Stephanie Blythe! I also liked Kathleen Kim’s bright soprano as Oscar, the king’s trusted page. Haha, Radvanovsky, Blythe, and Kim were also the same cast who sung in the 2010 Lyric production that I caught.
Not to ding Ann Hathaway’s inspired performance in Les Miserables (the same cannot be said of Hugh Jackman… great acting, but his “Bring Him Home” had me literally cringing in my seat), but watching the singers tonight, I was struck by how they could convey raw emotion through the music alone, without literally breaking down into broken gasps and sobs.
Oooh, someone posted on youtube the entire 1991 Levine performance at the Met, starring Aprile Millo, Luciano Pavarotti, Harolyn Blackwell, Gordon Hawkins, Leo Nucci!