Ages ago, I went to my third ever Met HD broadcast, of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda. This was the first time this opera has ever been performed at the Met. I can’t help but feel that this is a fairly big omission from their repertoire. Donizetti is underrated, in my opinion.
Anyway, back to the performance itself. Joyce DiDonato (in the title role) was spectacular, but I feel that equal credit should go to Elza van den Heever as Queen Elizabeth, Matthew Polenzani as Leicester and the composer himself for making me enjoy it so much. Nobody in the cast was significantly better than the others, but they were all wonderful and together they made the performance outstanding.
Joyce DiDonato as Maria Stuarda
The production was very good – it created the right atmosphere without interfering too much with the singing and acting. In terms of directing, all was well apart from the whole Queen-Elizabeth-walking-around-like-an-old-woman thing which didn’t work for me; it felt very over-emphasised. But maybe I just want to say that just for the sake of saying something negative.
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.