Sunday Morning Opera: Baritone Perfection

Share

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 9.25.44 AM

(Source)

Last night, Peter Gelb missed a great opportunity to rake in extra bucks by not grasping the fact that, like other venues in Europe, the Met should be live-streaming performances, for pay.  There are millions of opera fans out there, who don’t subscribe to Sirius, or can’t make it to a theater where the Live in HD performance will be this coming Saturday.  I live stream opera video from Vienna.  Did it with Hvorostovsky’s Rodrigo last spring.  It seems to me the Met should be doing this.  I also want to know if a recording has been made of Friday night’s performance.  It was one of the greatest performances I’ve heard out of the Met in many years.  I finally found a video link to the entire curtain call.

“…An ovation greeted his first entrance, loud and long enough that he broke character to smile and pat his heart in appreciation. Three hours later, the curtain calls ended with the orchestra pelting Mr. Hvorostovsky with white roses, as his co-star, the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, appeared visibly moved. Ms. Netrebko and several colleagues donned T-shirts in support of Mr. Hvorostovsky earlier this summer at a concert in Moscow….”

   

“…Anticipation turned dark a few months ago when the shocking news came that Met favorite Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the scheduled di Luna, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. He immediately canceled all engagements for the next months and sought treatment in London. There was no announcement about the upcoming Met Trovatore run, but few probably expected that he would be well enough to appear. However, last month brought word that he would return to New York for the first three shows!

Doubters had been reassured lately by photos and videos on social media showing a happy-and-healthy-looking Hvorostovsky rehearsing and clowning around with friends and colleagues, so the atmosphere at the opera house before Friday’s performance was electric. When he did first appear from out of the shadows in the middle of the second scene, a huge roar went up from the packed audience and conductor Marco Armiliato stopped the music and joined in the jubilant applause himself. A clearly moved Hvorostovsky basked in the moment and momentarily broke character to acknowledge the love.

Toward eleven o’clock during the final bows, the cheering house rose en masse when the Siberian baritone loped onstage for his solo bow. The thundering roar continued for several minutes as he gestured his thanks to the audience. After the remainder of the cast and the conductor had appeared, groups bows ensued until the irrepressible Armiliato pushed Hvorostovsky out of the line for another solo bow and, in a stunning coup, several dozen white roses were flung onto the stage from the pit by members of the orchestra. Trovatore is not usually an opera that elicits tears, much less by its di Luna, but on Friday evening many in the theater, including an otherwise radiant Netrebko, were seen openly weeping.

Astonishingly no allowances needed to be made for return of Hvorostovky’s glamorously neurotic Count to the still-effective David McVicar production that he had premiered in 2009. If anything he sang better than ever, the voice big and beautiful. The long lines of “Il balen” were spun out with his signature elegance and enviable breath control but also with a minimum of the “huffing and puffing” that had occasionally crept in over the past few years. It was surely as good a performance of Trovatore as he has ever sung. But his return was not the only reason to cheer….”

NYTimes
NYTimes
Twitter Feed
Twitter Feed
Opera Fresh
Opera Fresh

There is nothing more I can say, other than I wish I had been there.  It was one of those extraordinary, magical nights at the Met.  They are rare, and the stuff of legend.  I was fortunate to be there for one, years ago.  They don’t happen very often, that’s why they are magical.  Opera is a very small, bitchy, wonderful world that is loopy, insane, and filled with some of the most amazing people you will ever hope to meet.  Surrounded by fans, some of them who could be a little crazy, they are warm, friendly, and get to know their rabid fans, over the years.  I had the opportunity of and the honor of doing just that with Sherrill Milnes.  You form a special bond with your favorite opera singer.  They become part of your life.  When something goes wrong in their lives, like anyone for whom you care, you wish them the very best, and say more than a few prayers.  What I have enjoyed most, with Milnes, is watching the great man get the credit and adoration he should have received during his career, but did not – or did not get the attention I thought he should have had.  I think that is why Friday night was so special – Dmitri Hvorostovsky received the adulation and attention he so rightly deserves.  My prayers go with he and his family.

Share