Met HD Broadcast – Aïda

Way, way back in December, I went with Little Brother No.1 to see the Met HD Broadcast of Aïda. This was his first time ever seeing an opera, live or in the cinema. So far as I can tell, he enjoyed it (although he wriggled around a lot and was quite noisy during the performance). Personally, I loved the performance from both Olga Borodina as Amneris and Lyudmila Monastyrska in the title role but Roberto Alagna (as Radames) was, quite honestly, disappointing. His voice sounded very thin and a weedy and girly. His high note at the end of Celeste Aïda sounded completely as though it was sung by a countertenor, rather than a tenor. I’m not exactly fond of the character (he is, like Manrico, one of the great Verdi idiotic tenor roles. I mean, surely it would be obvious to anyone that attempting to conquer Ethiopia might not be the best way to please your Ethiopian girlfriend. But then again, this is opera. Maybe I’m just setting my expectations to high) but he still shouldn’t sound like a woman.

Lyudmila Monastyrska, on the other hand, was a revelation. I don’t really know what it is about her voice that makes it good, but it just is good. Very, very much so. Olga Borodina is an established singer and her Amneris was very well sung and well acted (with some deliciously bitchy moments). The production was very good, without being particularly outstanding. Overall, very good everything, let down somewhat by Alagna.

New Purchases

So, earlier this morning I went down to my (amazing, wonderful, brilliant) well-stocked local record shop with £20. I am now back at home with £5.02 and two new CDs. The rest of my morning has been spent in the delightful anticipation of listening to these CDs, but first I will just tell you what they are.

First:

Very excited to have this recording, because Franco Corelli is one of my all-time FAV 🙂 URITE tenors. Apart from the arias listed on the cover, it also has arias from Ernani, I Lombardi, La Forza del Destino, Andrea Chenier, Cavalleria Rusticana, Adriana Lecouvreur and Madama Butterfly. Obviously the sound quality won’t be perfect because the recordings were made in the ’50s but who cares, it’s still Corelli.

And also:

Now, I know that a lot of people don’t like La G (aka Draculette) because of her cancellations and her temperament and the various stories about her diva-ishness. I don’t know how many of these are true but all rumours have at least 1% truth and the cancellations are certainly no lie. But whatever people may think, you can’t deny that this woman has THE VOICE. She can SING. Which, when you think about it, is quite a good quality for a singer to have (*cough cough* pop music industry). So, leaving aside the arguments about her attendance record, this CD has arias from Butterfly, Tosca, Boheme, La Fanciulla del West, Manon Lescaut, Edgar (that’s the one that is never performed), her trademark Rondine, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Le Villi (also rarely performed) and Turandot. Quite predictable stuff, but hopefully the singing will live up to the name.

2012/13 Season at the Met

Plenty of highlights to look forward to in the Met’s new season. My picks are:

  • L’Elisir D’Amore – In a relatively Netrebko-free season, this is her main appearance, alongside a cast including Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien and her husband Erwin Schrott. Good line up for what will hopefully be an entertaining show.
  • Un Ballo in Maschera – Part of the Verdi/Wagner bicentenary celebrations, this stars Marcelo Alvarez, Sondra Radvanovsky and one of my personal favourites, Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Radvanovsky and Hvorostovsky are known to sing well together and I look forward to discovering a Verdi opera I know very little about.
  • Roberto Alagna returns to Aida as Radames. Let’s see if he can keep his blood sugar levels low this time.
  • Dialogues des Carmelites, famous for its haunting end, does not often come round so this is something to look forward to.
  • Ildar Abdrazakov as Don Giovanni, accompanied by Mr. Netrebko as Leporello.
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  • An interesting Traviata, with Damrau as Violetta and Placido Domingo sings Papa Germont for the first time.
  • What the Met claims is “a rare opportunity to witness Berlioz’s vast epic Les Troyens”, completely ignoring the very recent performance at Covent Garden
  • JDF returns in Le Comte Ory and Elina Garanca in La Clemenza di Tito
  • And of course the return of the vast Ring Cycle which has completely divided opinions. Personally, I love it, which is saying something given that I am not normally very patient at all with Wagner.
  • Also, a Don Carlo with Ramon Vargas although personally I would be more interested in Covent Garden’s upcoming production, starring Jonas Kaufmann.

Most of these performances will be broadcast in cinemas. For the full brochure, go here.