[Met Performance] CID:314640
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/2/1993.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)
(Debuts: Inma Egido, Mark Lamos
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 2, 1993
Metropolitan Opera Premiere


I LOMBARDI ALLA PRIMA CROCIATA {1}
Verdi-Solera

Giselda.................Aprile Millo
Oronte..................Luciano Pavarotti
Arvino..................Bruno Beccaria
Pagano..................Samuel Ramey
Viclinda................Inma Egido [Debut]
Sofia...................Jane Shaulis
Pirro...................Hao Jiang Tian
Acciano.................Jeffrey Wells
Prior...................Anthony Laciura

Violin solo.............Raymond Gniewek

Conductor...............James Levine

Production..............Mark Lamos [Debut]
Set designer............John Conklin
Costume designer........Dunya Ramicova
Lighting designer.......Pat Collins

I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata received eleven performances this season.

Production a gift of the Gramma Fisher Foundation

Review of Martin Mayer in the March 1994 issue of Opera (UK)

Earlier in the month, the Met had mounted its first-ever "I Lombardi," which I thought deserved a little better than the bad press it received. It is not news, after all, that the piece is dramatically incoherent and more than a little silly, with no character capable of development. But there is a great vulgar energy to it, fluid bandstand Verdi with a few knockout arias and splendid choruses. Levine in the pit communicated that energy with more gusto than has been his wont of late, and the chorus, now completely recovered under the direction of Raymond Hughes, was overwhelming. As the villain-turned-saint Pagano, Samuel Ramey had a fine
stand-and-deliver part, and he stood and delivered. Hao Jiang Tian as his confused henchman had enough bass voice to deliver with him in their splendid duet. And the role of Oronte gave Luciano Pavarotti two high-class arias, a less classy duet and a famous trio to sing with the great precision that still marks his work. I find the voice now almost disconnected from the body, which appears to be in considerable pain, but that makes the accomplishment if anything more admirable.

Mark Lamos, from a Hartford (Conn.) repertory theatre, making a Met debut as producer, flung a lot of crowds at us. John Conklin gave us many banners with red crosses and similar simple symbolism with images on the cyclorama and a minimum of built pieces. You can't blame them for the ludicrous scene in which the heroine hallucinates Luciano "lassł in cielo." In a sense, Lamos's direction claimed more for the work than is there, but it showed more imagination than most of what we have seen recently. Pat Collins as lighting designer was more aggressive than the Met's usual.

Bruno Beccaria as chief crusader was consistently stentorian, gave little pleasure, but did no harm. The great problem was in the soprano role. Aprile Millo apparently sang badly on the [first] night, and cancelled on December 14. Her cover, who had always been planned for a later performance was Lauren Flanigan, noted with enthusiasm in these pages for her performance in the title role of Hugo Weisgall's "Esther" at its New York City Opera premiere - but then not noted at all in the cover cast of the Met's "Rusalka" because she seemed under some strain as the Foreign Princess. That phrase would not begin to measure her condition as Giselda. It is a cruelty to a promising young artist to place her in such a killer role - a killer not because the fioritura is so difficult, though it is, but because the sustained legato is so ungratefully placed by a composer who was still relatively inexperienced in writing for the voice.



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