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Subject: MET Aida 2 December: Moore, Gubanova, Berti, Delavan
From: "Takis Pavl." <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Takis Pavl.
Date:Wed, 7 Dec 2016 08:46:53 +0000
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I had threevery different nights at the MET these last few days that I happened to be in NY. I’llwrite about them in the next few messages: Aida, Manon Lescaut and Salome. 
Aida lastFriday 2 December was a big disappointment. I thought the traditional setswere tasteful. A bit more colour variety between the scenes or acts wouldn’thurt but overall no complaints. But the stage direction of the chorusthroughout the evening was so static and boring. The chorus looked like a bunchof bored civil servants who had done this show 653 times and had no motivationto be there whatsoever. They also sounded like that. Neither did the stagedirection of the main characters offer anything interesting. Whoever the stagedirector is, just let them park and bark. And that’s what they mostly did.Marco Berti sang his notes, at times impressively but never lyrically or tryingto phrase interestingly. His timber varies between a nice robust tenor soundand plenty of less pleasant throaty moments. But at least he was up to thevocal demands of his role. Mark Delavan used the text better and clearer thanany of the others but his voice is not that special. The MET needs to engageDimitri Platanias who’s been singing old school Verdi all around Europe for anumber of years already and has Amonasro in his pocket. Gubanova just didn’tbite the text enough for my taste. Maybe it’s because her soft grained voicelacks both the lows and the highs to make an impact. I kept thinking of all thegreat things I’ve heard by other Amneris. 

I had highexpectations for Latonia Moore’s Aida. People have mentioned her favourablyplenty of times on this forum and hailed her as the next great Verdi soprano.She started decently, Ritorna Vincitorwas fine if not outstanding. What she lacked throughout the role was phrasingand intention. There was no difference in colours between the different scenesor emotions. Her warm voice in the middle flows nicely, I heard some nice chesttones as well but also a lot of glottal attacks which may explain why the topis by now already gone! How old is she? I was shocked to hear that she literallyrewrote o patria mia, omittingeveryone’s favourite high C all together! She reached what was I think thepenultimate note and just landed on the previous note in the harmony. Not evenan attempt to sing the high C! Continuing her creative notation, Padre pieta! In the following duet withAmonasro was conveniently sung an octave lower. Every other note above a G wasscreamed. I hope she was fighting a cold otherwise I can’t understand why theMET would hire an Aida who is not singing what is in the score! The audiencedidn’t seem to notice though and cheered for Latonia after her arias. Is theunion endorsing this woman? Ironically I heard an older man commenting that hewas happy to hear she has improved! I read someone’s review online suggestingshe’d be happier in a role like Mimi. No!! We don’t want any more vocallyexhausted sopranos singing Mimi, it’s not a refugee role for every sopranowho’s clapped out. If anything she should have started with Mimi. She needs togo back to a good singing teacher and work on her technique. 

There weretwo young women sitting next to me who were attending their first opera. Theyleft after the second interval. I couldn’t blame them and suggested a comedynext time. Everything was so boring in this Aida and the orchestra didn't do anything special with the music either. I also didn’t stay for thecurtain calls, I left not knowing what it is I like about opera. ThankfullyManon Lescaut on Saturday restored my faith in opera! 
Takis

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