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.
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.