I bought tickets to this opera a few months back and even then it was mostly sold out. Except for some partial view seats. And they were really partial view. Box seats in family circle practically above the stage. I had to lean over the box and look down in order to see the performers. Many times, my view was obscured. But that didn’t bother me too much, I got to hear Domingo and exciting up and coming performers.
After my last visit to the opera, I thought that maybe the fun experience I had in “Tosca” was just a fluke. But luckily this production restored my faith.
The acting was fantastic and this time it was married to gorgeous voices. Everyone was on key and heard above the orchestra. Placido Domingo, was of course, wonderful. My new fave rave is Lianna Haroutounian who played Boccanegra’s long lost daughter, Amelia Grimaldi. She was so beautiful with a top vocal range that was like crystal. Her voice had a clarity that ran though me and reverberated so much that I felt like living bell. Again I understood why many people become obsessed with Opera. Because that feeling, of having a vocal sound move through you and rearrange every cell in your body is absolutely heavenly. It can be addictive. And it is so disappointing when voices don’t reach that stratosphere. My other new favorite was Joseph Calleja who played Gabriele Adorno. He also had a gorgeous tone that cut through the orchestra and was bolstered by it.
The story? Well like most operas, it was a tragedy. Domingo played it to the hilt. Could he have been stronger vocally? Yes, of course, but he is not a young man anymore. Still he has a command that isn’t a strong suit of the younger singers being touted nowadays.
This lack, is not only evident in Opera but in ballet and even drama. There seems to be no presence, no sense of craftmanship and bravura these days. People schlump onto the stage, do their thing and that is it. No more and no less. Why? What happened in the past 20 years for such a change?
I advise everyone to get tickets to this production if they can. Not only to see Domingo but to hear future mega stars like Haroutounian.