Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Notes on Ernani - Met, March 27, 2008

Sam Shirakawa's short take on the Met's Ernani - Thanks, Sam!

Why has Sondra Radvanovsky appeared infrequently at the Met in recent seasons? What ever the reason, she's back. Hooray for that.

At Monday's first Ernani of the season, the audience was told that she would sing in spite of suffering from a virus. What virus? Excepting a tentative moment or two during "Ernani involami" she sounded better than ever. That electric vibrato as she ascends the scale is bringing her about as close to becoming a real Verdi soprano as we're likely to hear in this day and age. For some reason, though, she's yet to surge into the realms of Divadom. She remains the opera world's best kept secret.

Her lover for the evening was Marcello Giordani in the title role. His hi-def appearances at the house have gained him a cache of glamor in recent seasons, and he is among the emerging tenors heading into the spotlight that L and P held for decades. Some don't like him; I do, at least, when he's performing Verdi. The voice is attractive, the top notes are usually secure, and he has pleasant if not recondite stage presence.

Why is Thomas Hampson singing Carlo, much less Verdi? He still maintains a gorgeous, evenly placed voice, but it would better serve the Gallic repertoire, modern works or Lieder, where his sun really shines.

Ultimately it was veteran Ferruccio Furlanetto as Silva, who dominated the performance, showing everybody what superb singing is all about. The voice has character and the kind of warm, dark verve often associated with Pinza and Pasero.

Conductor Roberto Abbado kept the beat going, despite one or two ensemble issues between the pit and the stage. Pier Luigi Samaritani's utility sets from 1983 are holding up.

© Sam H. Shirakawa 2008

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