Friday, November 23, 2012

Aida Preview 2012-2013

Sonja Frisell's legendary Aida production with Rising star sensation Lyudmila Monastryska, Robert Alagna and Olga Borodina.

Lyudmila Monastryska makes her Met debut coming off a showstopping Macbeth at the Royal Opera house. Monastryska came to prominence after replacing Micaela Carosi in Aida at the ROH and after that the Royal immediately contracted her for her first Lady Macbeth in which she stole the show. Those performance prompted her to being one of the most exciting rising stars. This year Monastryska sings Aida on the heels of a showstopping Richard Tucker Gala. When she sang the role at the ROH, critics were ecstatic calling her Aida beautiful and a colorful creation. They stated that she was touching and that her pianissmi were controlled. They also stated that she has a powerful, big and warm voice that cuts through the large ensembles.  As an actress though Monstrasyka is from a traditional background but it her imposing figure that really allows her to come through. After having seen her powerful Lady Macbeth I am very excited to see what Monastryska adds to the role of Aida and to see if this very promising artist proves to be the real deal.

Roberto Alagna reprises his controversial interpretation of Radames. In 2006 when Alagna made his role debut as Radames at La Scala the audience booed him after singing Celeste Aida. Alagna's reaction was to walk off the stage leaving his Amneris to sing alone. Alagna took a while to return to the role but it was at the Met where he reprised it on a last minute call. Critics immediately praised him stating that he sang very well and that he left an impression on the role. Additionally they stated that it felt like Alagna making a statement on La Scala and trying to get revenge for the audiences behavior. While he recieved boos at the la Scala, he receieved cheers at the Met. Things however did not go as well at the Royal Opera House. Alagna possesses a natural lyric voice that he eventually forced into a spinto sound. That was noticed when he sang the role at the ROH. Critics stated that he does not have the power or the heroic qualities necessary for a Verdi tenor. However they did state that he had very lyrical sections in his singing those that are natural to his voice. Critics also stated that he lacked charm and grace for the role. They commented that his acting which is always great was filled with stock gestures and he always sang in the front of the stage to be heard. While I don't expect anything great from Alagna's performance he has generally surprised at the Met particularly in Carmen and La Rondine. I would like to be surprised this year but I highly think this role suits his voice or his temperament.

Marco Berti returns to Radames, a role her last sang at the Met in 2007. As previously stated in my Trovatore and Turandot preview, Marco Berti is not a singer who brings new ideas to  any of his roles. He sings each role with  accuracy  and has the power necessary to sing the spinto roles. As Radames which he last sang in Chicago Berti has been praised for his phrasing, for his urgency and his tone qualities. Critic also stated that he is the Verdi tenor that opera houses have been waiting for and that he puts all the doubts Opera house have to rest. Berti's "Celeste aida" has been praised as being sung with beauty and tenderness and poise. The one drawback though many have noted is the fact that he doesn't really act. He plops himself in center stage and sings as if he was thinking about his next high note. Whatever the drawbacks maybe after reading about his last performances as Radames I am excited to see if Mr. Berti is truly that Radames the Met has been waiting to hear and whether he bring back the same ardor he brought to Chicago.

After excursions into Versimo, French, and Russian repertoire, Olga Borodina reprises her acclaimed Amneris. Borodina last sang the role at the Royal Opera House with Monastyrska and critics stated that she stole the show from her Aida and Radames. Borodina is both an imposing figure on stage and outside of the stage. In 2011 before she sang the role of Amneris she asked the director to change the costumes and in 2009 when she sang Carmen at the Met she changed the stage direction opting not to peel potatoes. However Borodina is a true artist committed to producing the most vivid of characters. Her voluptuous voice is both round, and warm and her lower register is powerful. Her high register has suffered a bit throughout the years but nevertheless it still has the same commanding power. Of her Amneris critics have stated that she is sly, in-love, vengeful and ultimately full of remorse. She also dominates every inflection, has the secure top notes and is ultimately imposing dramatically. Without a doubt it is exciting to see Borodina take on one of Verdi's most iconic Mezzo role once again. The performances of Borodina mark her first appearance on the Live in HD series.

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