A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’

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lennygoran
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A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’

Post by lennygoran » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:15 pm

Never heard of Anita Rachvelishvili. Regards, Len

Review: A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’


By ZACHARY WOOLFE JAN. 23, 2018


“The dreadful memory torments me,” the vengeance-crazed Azucena moans in Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.” “It makes my blood run cold.”

But be honest, opera lovers. How many times has an Azucena actually convinced you that she’s telling the truth here? And I bet it’s at even fewer performances that she’s made your blood run cold, too.

Well, it fairly freezes in your veins while watching and listening to Anita Rachvelishvili, the Georgian mezzo-soprano who is running away with the show in “Il Trovatore,” which opened at the Metropolitan Opera on Monday and runs through Feb. 15.


Just 33, Ms. Rachvelishvili has been a daringly grim Carmen at the Met and had a crucial, sensuous turn here in Borodin’s “Prince Igor” in 2014. But this Azucena is her true coming out. She turns this haunted and haunting Gypsy, driven mad by her memories — and often mentioned last in rundowns of the “Trovatore” cast’s main quartet — into the riveting, volatile central figure.

Azucena has in recent years often been sung at the Met by Dolora Zajick, an indefatigable, indispensable company fixture whose take on the part has grown blunter, musically and dramatically. (She gets a single performance this season, on Feb. 6.) Ms. Rachvelishvili brings back the role’s nuances, its range of colors, its emotional gradations.


Above all, she respects the bel canto tradition out of which this opera emerged. Her Azucena is a creation of soaring high notes, fluttering trills, seductive legato, chilling low tones. These never feel like effects; they are the building blocks she uses to form the character.


Without stinting the role’s brutality, Ms. Rachvelishvili is often delicate and responsive to the generous length of Verdian lines. She makes the words bite. She is sometimes ethereal. She is sometimes, even more than earthy, elemental. Amazingly, given Azucena’s unending desperation, she is elegant.

She is the revelation in this revival of David McVicar’s effective, efficient 2009 production. (This is the fourth McVicar staging at the Met this season and the third this month; surely the company’s audience would be well served by a broader range of directorial approaches than his starkish period-dress naturalism.)


But Ms. Rachvelishvili is not the only highlight in a treat of a “Trovatore.” Under Marco Armiliato, the orchestra plays with spirited polish. The baritone Quinn Kelsey, an aristocratic but fierce Count di Luna, has a distinctive tone: rich but smoky — even, excitingly, a little hollow, as if you’re always hearing him in an empty, echoey church.

At full tilt, the tenor Yonghoon Lee (as Manrico, the troubadour of the title, di Luna’s nemesis and Azucena’s son) sings with clarion robustness; it’s only when he tries to go gentler that his voice turns thin and crooning. The soprano Jennifer Rowley took over the full “Trovatore” run from an ill colleague less than two weeks ago. As the noblewoman Leonora, battled over by Manrico and the count, she is finely controlled, her tone clear and clean. Sympathetic, particularly in the opera’s last minutes, she never quite galvanizes.

“My frightened heart can barely beat,” she claims in the final act. You hear Ms. Rowley, but you don’t quite believe her; Ms. Rachvelishvili, you always do.




https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/arts ... collection

maestrob
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Re: A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:37 pm

And, as usual, no credit is given to the conductor, Armaliato, who prepared this whole spectacular music with flair and ornaments that show off the remarkable talents of the cast. Armaliato has been leading Trovatore at the MET for about a decade now, and has done a spectacular job of it, IMHO. Also, what was that snarky comment about the boring period dress production? Yikes! Audiences crave that, so produce what sells, fer cryin' out loud! :mrgreen:

lennygoran
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Re: A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:38 pm

maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:37 pm
And, as usual, no credit is given to the conductor, Armaliato,
Brian maybe not enough credit given but he was mentioned:
"Under Marco Armiliato, the orchestra plays with spirited polish."
The Times link had her singing and Sue said she wanted to see this live-unfortunately for her it's too late for us to go because of the impending Florida trip. I see this won't be done HD. Regards, Len

maestrob
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Re: A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’

Post by maestrob » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:49 am

lennygoran wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:38 pm
maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:37 pm
And, as usual, no credit is given to the conductor, Armaliato,
Brian maybe not enough credit given but he was mentioned:
"Under Marco Armiliato, the orchestra plays with spirited polish."
The Times link had her singing and Sue said she wanted to see this live-unfortunately for her it's too late for us to go because of the impending Florida trip. I see this won't be done HD. Regards, Len
The problem with critics in general is that all they do is review performances, rather than going in depth to experience and document "how the sausage is made." This is probably fine for audience members who don't really care beyond wanting a good-tasting "sausage," but it would be interesting to many if critics were, in this age of video and social media, able to explore in depth the commitment and actual work of, say, Armiliato, who prepared and polished not just the orchestra but the singers and chorus as well. The MET Trovatore is one of their finest post-Levine productions, both musically and in its staging: it should be reviewed as such. Dismissing the conductor with one line of faint praise underwhelms me, frankly speaking. He is responsible for much of the success of this production, and should receive credit for that success.

P. S. If you go back in your tape collection to 2008 (IIRC), you'll find the original telecast of Trovatore led by Armiliato. Enjoy!
Last edited by maestrob on Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

lennygoran
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Re: A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:52 am

maestrob wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:49 am
audience members who don't really care beyond wanting a good-tasting "sausage,"
Brian thanks-now yopu've made me hungry and lunch time is still more than an hour away! Regards, Len [fleeing]

maestrob
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Re: A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’

Post by maestrob » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:59 am

lennygoran wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:52 am
maestrob wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:49 am
audience members who don't really care beyond wanting a good-tasting "sausage,"
Brian thanks-now yopu've made me hungry and lunch time is still more than an hour away! Regards, Len [fleeing]
Enjoy! :D :lol:

barney
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Re: A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’

Post by barney » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:32 pm

I thought it a rather ungenerous review. The critic didn't have to emphasise how good this Azucena is by insulting another, and you - of all people, Len - would not appreciate, as I did not, his unsubtle put-down of David McVicar. Personally, I like McVicar and I like realistic naturalism (or whatever the phrase was - I can't see it as I type this).

barney
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Re: A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’

Post by barney » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:34 pm

stark period dress naturalism.
Presumably this critic likes his Ring set in an Armenian brothel or Texas gas station. A goose. (Even if it is Zachary Woolfe, which in fact it is.)

lennygoran
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Re: A Surprise Star Steals the Met’s ‘Il Trovatore’

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:42 pm

barney wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:32 pm
Personally, I like McVicar
Barney so do I-he treats Donizetti with the proper respect! Regards, Len :D

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