sábado, 24 de octubre de 2015


Chaperones are meant to be irksome, especially if their charges are nursing amorous feelings. In opera their second purpose is to know when to get out of the way. In Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” which theMetropolitan Opera revived in Michael Mayer’s dazzling Rat Pack production on Tuesday, the romance between the suave Duke of Mantua and the over-protected Gilda can only bloom once her custodian has been dispatched.
There was another chaperone at work on Tuesday: the orchestra, which stifled spontaneity with its presence. Under the direction ofPablo Heras-Casado, this normally excellent ensemble turned in a heavy-footed performance that made me long for the brief rests — as in the duet between Gilda and the Duke — in which the voices unfold unaccompanied.

The problem was all the more vexing because as Gilda, the sopranoOlga Peretyatko offered a master class in refinement, clarity and expression. Her cool, silky timbre and chiseled phrasing can sound aloof in recordings, but her performance here felt alive with subtle emotional shadings.
By contrast, Stephen Costello, as the Duke, sang with a bright tenor that seemed coated in Teflon. Smooth, dependable but emotionally nonreactive, his voice was perfectly suited to a character who remains impervious to the suffering he causes.
In the title role, the baritone George Gagnidze husbanded much of his power and pathos until the final act. In duet he was an attentive partner to Ms. Peretyatko, and his increasingly desperate interactions with the chorus of jeering courtiers in Act II held an affecting mix of vulnerability and bluster.
In a strong cast of secondary characters, the bass Stefan Kocan stood out as the assassin Sparafucile, singing with a rich, bronzed tone. Together with the auburn-voiced mezzo Katarina Leoson, he brought a dose of sleazy menace to the final act that had all the chilling commonness of a Coen brothers film.


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