Maria, Met, and Ms. DiDonato….Mmm
by Melissa Wimbish
The Met did something really special by starting off our new year with such overwhelming greatness. Just reading this New York Times review by Anthony Tommasini makes me want to get up and practice! Also very exciting to hear about Elza van den Heever. Check out the Operagasm Review Rundown!
Get that bat out of here!: “Not that long ago the Metropolitan Opera’s default idea for a New Year’s Eve gala was to dust off its production of Johann Strauss’s frothy ‘Fledermaus,’ with guest stars singing a favorite Puccini aria or Cole Porter song during the party scene, and free Champagne for the audience in the lobby after the show. But on Monday night the Met and its general manager, Peter Gelb, came up with a far more serious way to ring in the new year: a company premiere production of Donizetti’s ‘Maria Stuarda’.
Ya heard: “Ms. DiDonato’s performance will be pointed to as a model of singing in which all components of the art form — technique, sound, color, nuance, diction — come together in service to expression and eloquence.”
Maybe not ‘New & Improved’, but smart!: “Mr. McVicar’s production is hardly a bold take on the opera. But better to have something traditional than a half-baked concept. His staging is more visually striking and imaginative than what he came up with for Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena,” which opened the 2011-12 season, the first installment of the Met’s planned presentation of Donizetti’s Tudor trilogy, of which “Maria Stuarda” is the second. (“Roberto Devereux” will be next.)
Love to hear this. Go girl!: “The cast is excellent. In a notable Met debut, Elza van den Heever, a 33-year-old South African soprano whose career is rising internationally, is a vocally burnished and emotionally tempestuous Elizabeth (Elisabetta). Her sound, with its earthy tinge and quick vibrato, is not conventionally beautiful. But her voice has penetrating depth and character. She turns flights of coloratura passagework into bursts of jealousy and defiance…”
Read the full review here! And, go see this cast and production that will certainly go down in history.