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Subject: Re: Terrific Trovatore Prima at the Met
From: "Volpe, Russell" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Volpe, Russell
Date:Tue, 23 Jan 2018 20:00:10 +0000
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I was at the performance last night and I would second much of what Donald has said from his hearing over the airwaves. 
 
Quinn Kelsey is indeed on his way to becoming one of the major Verdi baritone's on the scene.  It is a dark, burnished sound that comes across particularly well in the more lyrical passages as di Luna.  This contributed to a strong, lyrically elegant "Il balen" and many other fine, pointed, rich moments with the text and the role.  He seemed to me a bit young and inexperienced and he was a tad stiff on stage.  His voice seem to lose some focus and heft in the ensembles and when pressed.  This was my only reservation about an otherwise fine performance.  It was very hard not to think to the late, great Hvorostovsky all evening, as this was his farewell complete role at the Met, and one he sang particularly well.  It is meant as the highest praise to say that Kelsey's di Luna is on his way to earning a place in that august company. 
 
Rashvelishvili was riveting, as an actress and as a singer, as Amneris.  Completely committed, thoroughly engrossed in all aspects of the role and delivering on all cylinders.  Her smoky voice moved up and down its range all evening and she rang out with some thrilling top notes.  I would agree that she is poised as a successor to Zajick in this role. 
 
Yonghoon Lee delivered a solid, mellifluously sung, Manrico benefitting from his experience and savvy with the role.  His tone is lovely, and except when he applies too much pressure to it in heavy dramatic moments, always pleasing to the ear.  His legato and good use of dynamics served him well, particularly in the "Ah si ben mio" which was a vocal highlight.  His voice is a size too small to be fully satisfying in "Di quella pira" but he sang it well within his limitations. 
 
Jennifer Rowley, replacing Maria Agresta, was a capable, well-rounded Leonore, up to many, but not all, of the demands of this punishing role.  Her plush tone conveyed ardor effectively in more lyrical music.  Her coloratura was decent and she was a convincing actress.  Her voice did suffer some intonation problems when under pressure and not all her high notes were on pitch or without edge.  She was occasionally over parted by the relentless demands of act IV, but overall she acquitted herself well on this occasion. 
 
Stefan Kocan boomed as Ferrando, Eduard Valdez was an officious Ruiz and the chorus and orchestra sang and played well under Marco Armiliato's spirited, driven direction.  He managed to support the singers well in lyrical pages and drove them with excitement for the numerous dramatic and climactic moments. 
 
All in all a good night for a mid-winter, sparsely-attended, revival of a repertory stable with a low-profile cast not likely to sell many tickets on names alone.  This performance delivered much more on stage than it promised on paper. 
 
Russ Volpe 
 
Russell G. Volpe, DPM 
Professor 
Department of Orthopedics and Pediatrics  
New York College of Podiatric Medicine  
Foot Clinics of New York 
53-55 East 124th Street 
New York, New York 10035 
phone: 212 410 8129 
fax; 212 410 8440 
 
 
-----Original Message----- 
From: Discussion of opera and related issues [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Donald Levine 
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 1:14 PM 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: Terrific Trovatore Prima at the Met 
 
I listened to about two thirds of the Trovatore last night. 
 
I tuned in at the beginning of Act 2, Sc 2 so I heard Il balen through the rest of the opera.  First of all, I was greatly impressed with Quinn Kelsey.  I have been since I first heard him in Chicago a few years ago. 
There are not a handful of Verdi baritones out there today, at least that I have heard who is of his caliber.  At least as I heard it over the airwaves,  there is a slightly opaque quality to the voice, but that's a minor quibble.  There is not another baritone on the Met roster who is better. 
 
I've known Yonghoon Lee for ten years or more and have watched his career develop from the Giulio Gari Foundation awards to where he is now.  Again, you can't get much better today as Manrico.  The Ah si ben mio was particularly well done. 
 
I liked Jennifer Rowley.  There were some pitch problems and she got a bit wayward in some places, but again, a good showing.  As I was listening I felt I could hear a great similarity between her and Gabriella Tucci.  The voice reminded me of Tucci with the same vibrato almost bordering on a flutter - not in a bad way - about the same weight of voice and similar tonal quality.  I don't know much about her but I suspect, like Tucci, Leonora might be about as heavy as she should go.  I always thought Tucci shortened her career with the Aida's, Amelia's and Forza Leonora's.  Tucci was glorious in the lyrico roles and early on sang beautifully as Mimi, Butterly, Maria (Boccanegra), Marguerite, etc and even Aida early but they eventually took their toll. 
 
 Anita Rashvelishvili was magnificent.  She will be the successor to the great Zajick.  I have heard her as Carmen and Amneris and can't wait for each new role she added in America.  For the rest, it was a good performance with the experienced Marco Armiliato in the pit. 
 
Donald 😁 
 
On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 9:01 PM, G. Paul Padillo <[log in to unmask]> 
wrote: 
 
> Although my transmission kept going in and out during the first half  
> (mostly the first 
> quarter) the prima of Trovatore was pretty smoking hot tonight!   
> Yonghoon Lee made an exciting Manrico, with some beautiful shading and  
> plenty of pop and ping in his sound, for "Di Quella Pira" but earlier  
> on, gave a ravishing account of "Ah si, ben mio" (or as we used to say  
> "I see Ben Mee-Oh")  with a decent trill the first time while the  
> second one was more hinted at.  Still . . . lovely. 
> 
> Jennifer Rowley was frequently lovely sounding - a few squally moments  
> up at the top, but only in quicker passages.  Her big arias and scenes  
> came across strongly, and her involvement in the final scene reminded  
> me of how much I enjoyed her in last season's "Cyrano" for that same  
> reason. 
> 
> Quinn Kelsey was superb as Di Luna, "Il Balen" - or the 2/3rds of it I  
> heard - was gorgeous. 
> 
> For me, the most exciting singing came from Anita Rachvelishvili as  
> Azucena - even though I missed half of "Stride la vampa."  She poured  
> out a delicious lunacy all night that was pitiable, terrifying and  
> gloriously vocalized. 
> 
> Marco Armiliato led the Met forces in a propulsive, "take no prisoners" 
> account that kept 
> both the action and my blood pumping a mile a minute, slowing it down  
> for those moments of beauty, but then hopping back on the horse  
> intensifying everything in an old-fashioned "rip roarin'" fashion that  
> had me cheering at the end.  I know . . . how gauche - what with me in  
> pajamas and eating spaghetti and butter and all.  So sue me. 
> 
> Really, this was a terrific "night at the opera." 
> 
> p. 
> 
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