Mitchell Weitz reminds me of Ewing's Didons (which were special) but her
crazed performance was matched by that of Paul Frey on one ill-fated night of
that run at the Met. He was struggling all evening, but during the "Nuits
d'ivresse" duet, he hit an unforgettable high something...it wasn't a note,
it was, perhaps, supported; it was definitely loud and it definitely drew
gasps, laughs and groans from the audience. A party tape event, but I
wasn'tloaded at the time and am I sorry.
I was also at the Studer debut and will disagree with Mr. Weitz on one point.
The whole thing was an abomination, especially Studer's debut. I have never
been fortunate enough to catch her in person when she sings on pitch. Her
much-anticipated debut had this (minor?????) flaw and I chalked it up to
nerves. Little did I know this was her standard of live singing (I can't
have that much of a jinx, but her Idomeneo Elettra was horrifying for all the
wrong reasons). I was hoping to catch her Violetta to see what she would
come up with, but she disappointed me again by cancelling.
For me the worst performance -- and one that proved how much can go wrong
when you are trying to pull off an evening of complete theatrical artifice --
was the Bini Gioconda. An unforgettable evening which (I am sure) has been
described in great detail before. I had never attended an opera with that
much audience participation and hilarity. The most frustrating thing was
that this was a one-night only cast which had the most promise in meeting the
demands of Gioconda -- full throated singing.
On a sadder note, the most horrifying performance was the thwarted Met
premiere of Janacek's Makropoulos Affair. I was in the second row of the
orchestra and watched Richard Versalle descend the ladder, become lifeless
and drop ten feet to the floor. Watching him hit the stage, hearing that
sound and then hearing conductor David Robertson's voice asking "Dick. Dick
are you all right?" as the orchestra came to a halt, a stagehand entered and
the curtain fell. Unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. May you all
never experience that that.