[Met Performance] CID:319120
Simon Boccanegra {123} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/19/2007., Sirius Broadcast live/Streamed at metopera.org


Metropolitan Opera House
February 19, 2007 Broadcast/Streamed

Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave/Arrigo Boito

Simon Boccanegra........Thomas Hampson
Amelia..................Angela Gheorghiu
Gabriele Adorno.........Marcello Giordani
Jacopo Fiesco...........Ferruccio Furlanetto
Paolo Albiani...........Vassily Gerello
Pietro..................Richard Bernstein
Maid....................Rosemary Nencheck
Captain.................Roy Cornelius Smith

Conductor...............Fabio Luisi

Production..............Giancarlo Del Monaco
Designer................Michael Scott
Lighting Designer.......Wayne Chouinard
Stage Director..........David Kneuss

Revival a gift from Dr. and Mrs. Thomas P. Sculco and
Mr. and Mrs. Wilmer J. Thomas, Jr.

Broadcast live on Sirius Metropolitan Opera Radio
Streamed live at metopera.org

Simon Boccanegra received six performances this season

Production photos of Simon Boccanegra by Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera.

Review of Fred Cohn in the May 2007 issue of OPERA NEWS

In "Simon Boccanegra," Verdi created a sound world unlike that of any of his other operas. The work is famously gloomy, but its texture is wonderfully varied, as if illuminated by glints of light reflected off the Genoese Riviera. Fabio Luisi, leading the first performance of this season's Met revival of the opera on February 19, emphasized the score's chiaroscuro in a reading that was somber but never heavy. For all of Luisi's evident control of his forces (a rough moment of coordination during his prima donna's "romanza" aside), he let the performance breathe naturally, maintaining a sense of Verdian propulsion while giving the musical argument the elasticity of human thought and emotion.

The revival was cast from strength. Thomas Hampson here sang his first Met Boccanegra. In recent years Hampson has been taking on heavier repertory, but nonetheless his tone is lighter than that of the dramatic baritones who usually sing this role. At the big moments, such as Simon's peroration "Plebe! Patrizi! Popolo" in the council chamber scene, he used a forward, almost tenorial placement, producing the necessary volume but leaving no sense of power in reserve. In the introspective passages with which this role abounds, he was very much in his element, the thoughtfulness of his singing conveying Simon's nobility of character. Hampson and Ferruccio Furlanetto turned the two Boccanegra-Fiesco duets into the opera's anchoring moments, providing a sense of dramatic inevitability to the opaque, often illogical events that come between them. As for Furlanetto, his great oaken bass in itself would have guaranteed him a success. But this was only a starting point for a portrayal of extraordinary fervor. In "Il lacerato spirito," he moved from thundering rage to heartrending grief through incisive, lucid inflection.

Angela Gheorghiu was Amelia. She is a riveting presence, and her every utterance demands attention. The translucent beauty of her upper voice was here very much in evidence. So was the comparative weakness of the lower part of her range. Perhaps it is this that motivates her carefully tapered phrasing, at times so finely calibrated as to sacrifice spontaneity and forthrightness. Here she could have learned from Marcello Giordani, the evening's Gabriele, who gave a demonstration of fearless Verdi singing, with stunning, easy top notes both at full
cry and at mezzo piano.

One can imagine a subtler Paolo than Vassily Gerello, but not one who could so immediately, through biting, dark tone, convey the courtier's villainy. Giancarlo del Monaco's literal-minded 1995 production treats its performers as so many figurines in its Genoese dioramas, but at least it doesn't actively obstruct their work. On this occasion, that was enough.

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