As for the singers. Anna Netrebko repeated her success in the role. Like in Vienna she sounded nervous and uncomfortable at the beginning. However as she continued throughout she got more comfortable and climaxed with a memorable mad scene. Netrebko sang with beautiful phrasing, pure legatos and impressive high notes. Her acting was impressive especially in the mad scene. However at times I felt like she wanted to do more but was restricted by McVicar's direction. Like critics stated Netrebko needs a director who is willing to take risks and help her discover the role to the full extent so she can fully develop the role. McVicar's is definitely not that director.
Ildar Abdrazakov was an impressively dashing Enrico. Like Netrebko, he sang with warmth and beautiful phrasing. His presence was imposing as he convinced that he was truly an unscrupulous king.
Stephen Costello was okay in the role of Percy. He was neither impressive nor bad. He sang with a warm tone at times but at other times with a nervous shrill and uneven tone. His high notes at times sounded wonderful and at other times sounded strained. Costello has a lot to work on before Monday nights opening.
Tamara Mumford was in my opinion the surprise of the afternoon. Known for singing secondary roles at the Met, Mumford finally had the pleasure of singing a key role. Her Smenton was sung with purity as the character himself. Mumford convinced in this short but crucial role.
Ekaterina Gubanova however was a mess in the role of Seymour. Known for her dramatic repertoire Gubanova showed that she is uncomfortable with the bel canto repertoire. From the beginining to the end of the opera she sounded shrill and stilted. Her voice was uneven and lacked balance. Her low point came in the act 1 finale as she was unable to reach her high register.Gubanova sang an acceptable second act if only tolerable.
Marco Armiliato conducted with charisma but the orchestra seemed uncomfortable with a lot of the music. One of their iffy moments was the finale "Coppia Iniqua". The orchestra did not follow Netrebko and as a result it felt as if there were two different pieces being performed.. In addition there were some very awkward cuts that are not part of the standard cuts that sounded messy and contrived.
Overall because this a dress rehearsal there can still be work done before opening night.
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