|Kwicien, Damrau, Florez. Photo (c) Sara Krulwich/NY Times|
The superlative quality of the ensemble extended to the vivacious Giannetta of Layla Claire. Claire sang with impressive agility and purity tone. Her distinctive timbre made her stand out in the initial ensembles, and her scene with Nemorino and the village maidens was handled adroitly. Claire was also a vivid presence when not singing: in this production, Giannetta is Adina's confidante, and her flirting with Belcore ends with her taking the initiative (and Nemorino's cast-off military jacket) and attaching herself to him. Alessandro Corbelli was an overtly theatrical Dulcamara. He sounded slightly dry in his opening aria, but used text with extravagant expressiveness throughout, and his duets with Nemorino and Damrau--including a hilariously mannered impersonation of Senator Tredenti--were delightful.
Diana Damrau I really must lavish with superlatives. Her singing was secure and sweet-toned throughout, and she managed to make Adina hilarious without ever making her the butt of a joke. Good chemistry with Florez helped make the development of her joyous, sensual Adina credible. "Chiedi all'aura" was beautifully precise and delicately phrased. The finale of Act I was a beautiful example of ensemble work, her duet with Dulcamara hilarious. Her exquisite "Prendi, per me sei libero" made use of entirely new vocal color, and ached with tenderness. When Adina finally spits out her confession of love, its repetitions were delivered by Damrau as increasingly ecstatic explosions of joy (and her dazzling coloratura made the promises of eternal love seem rather racy.) Juan Diego Florez was both charming, and unafraid to be ridiculous. His voice is lighter and leaner than usual for Nemorino, but I found his close attention to text and fine shaping of long melodic lines very winsome. Throughout, his Nemorino was disarmingly unguarded: "Quanto è bella" was besotted, "Caro elisir" dreamily delighted. "Una furtiva lagrima" was unusually slow, and poignant, the expressed hope a forlorn one. This melancholy, of course, cannot last long; the triumphant delight of the lovers is made general, celebrated by villagers and audience alike.
Curtain call photos:
|Cast and conductor|