Friday, January 27, 2017

Roméo et Juliette
Their love is here to stay!

Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo in a new production of Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette”  are being praised for their chemistry. 

Is it “ A marriage  of true minds.”

Here’s what they told a NYTimes writer:

GRIGOLO:  It’s not out of nothing. 

It’s like when you want to make a dish in the kitchen, you have good prime materials. Good tomato, good zucchini, good fish. Everything is so fresh. You just need to put it on the grill.  Me, Diana, a good conductor, a good director: 

The ingredients are so good that it’s going to come out something nice.

DAMRAU: It’s true.

GRIGOLO: You just do the right thing. Just do it for real. We never fake it.

DAMRAU: The kissing we fake.

GRIGOLO;  What?  I don’t fake it.  I never fake it.

So much for “he said/she said” discussions—especially when he and she sing  four stunning duets in Romeo and Juliette.

This Met production with its classic yet unspecific time period, consistent, with a touch of Fellini showmanship, sets the stage for the eternal love that is forever Romeo and Juliette.  

What is about the Simulcast  that is  better than in person?  The closeups where we enter the space of the intimacy of the two lovers —a contrast to the wide world picture of the chorus.  

 With amazing tour de force of design, the entire five acts flow on one place, with the most subtle adjustments even as the two lovers mature in the realization of what the youthful love entitles. This is a recording of  Romeo and Juliette  that will not die.

Side note:  Yes, Grigolo will remind you of a young (and far more athletic) Pavarotti, a man who told whom to be a star.   

Quote from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 
 Interview excerpt from Zachary Woolfe  Romeo and Juliet, Flushed and Feverish at the Met Opera (Dec. 22, 2016)

DON’T MISS THE NEXT ONE —a   Rusalka  like you have never seen before!


Monday, January 9, 2017


What becomes a legend most?  Remember that 1968 ad campaign that became a legend of its own almost fifty years ago. 

That was the year that  Placido Domingo made his official debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York  when he substituted with little notice for Franco Corelli in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur with Renata Tebaldi.  

Who remembers that?  

Who will ever forget Domingo in  the Met Opera Simulcast  of January 7, 2017,  of Verdi’s Nabucco?  As Domingo adds a new role to his Met repertory as the Babylonian ruler Nabucco, Liudmyla Monastyrska sings the tour-de-force role of Abigaille, Nabucco’s willful daughter, with Jamie Barton as Fenena, Russell Thomas as Ismaele and Dmitri Belosselskiy as the prophet Zaccaria,

Nacucco which is so seldom seen, was Verdi’s third opera and the one that launched  his stunning career.   Aida by the way would come 30 some years later and would also include warring ancient people, and  two rival princesses, and a fatherly king.  And there would be a love match crossing the lines of the enemy as well as incredible chorus pieces. 

Domingo has sung almost all  Verdi’s operas but this is the first time he has sung this role,  that of the mad king Nacucco.

Yes, Domingo is 75 years old. 

One of the added joys of this broadcast of Nabucco was the addition of the taped conversation of Domingo and Levine about the first time they worked together, 50 years ago, in San Francisco.  It’s not all in the statistics of how  many performances they have done over the years but in this message of how they approach their art.  

Maybe that is what becomes a legend most, that they don’t stop doing amazing things. 

With legendary Met Music Director James Levine at the podium, this opera  moment now belongs to the generations to come.