Sorry for being such a slacker with the opera reviews. I’ve been lazy recently. My apologies.
That being said, let’s get back on track with Thursday’s stellar broadcast of Aida.
Violetta Urmana has been an Aida mainstay for a few seasons now. And that’s it. Only Aida. She did a few Toscas, but she headlines as Aida. Every season. Ms. Urmana performed to perfection on Thursday, with dramatic low notes and high notes that were well placed and more or less nicely formed. Brava for her.
The headliner in this production though, was most certainly Stephanie Blythe singing her first Amneris (To The Nose!) at The Met. From my opinion, and that of The New York Times, she knocked the role out of the park. This is totally an Amneris I would see, and hope to. (My dearest family, I know a wonderful idea for a place to go if we’re bored over February break ;)) She made small phrases beautiful and complex and totally brought a jealous princess through the airwaves. Her intense portrayal was palpable. I predict that she will become the successor to the Met’s long time Amneris when she retires, and probably in future seasons. Double Brava for Ms. Blythe.
For the performance of Marcelo Alvarez, I would have to agree most with the New York Times Review. He delivered an uncomfortable portrayal of Radames, and he faltered multiple times during a disappointing ‘Celeste Aida’ with poor breath control and he stepped off tempo a few times. However, his strongest moment was the ‘O Terra Addio” at the end of the opera. He delivered sentimental phrases coupled with the same emotion from Urmana. This is my favorite moment in the opera. With Blythe’s added ‘Pace Imploro’s on top, this was a deeply moving portion of the broadcast. Especially when staged in Sonja Frissel’s production, with the lovers sealed in a vault beneath the temple of Ptah(My Twitter followers will remember me having no idea who Ptah was. Well I found some information.) It was another great night of opera.
Lado Ataneli’s performance was good, but nothing to write home about in the role of Amonasro, another one of opera’s most unlikeable dads. Lori Guilbeau was a moving priestess in another one of my favorite scenes of the opera, singing with a beauty of tone and perfectly shaped phrases.
Aida was a treat to hear and I hope I can see it live soon!