Sunday, 1 April 2012

Verdi - Ernani. MET, 2012. Hvorostovsky, Furlanetto, Meade

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In his role debut, the Siberian baritone smouldered from the off and was in imperious voice. The role lies quite high in the baritone range, but Hvorostovsky made light of the vocal challenges; ‘Lo vedremo, veglio audace’ was excellent, followed by a refined, cultured tone for ‘Vieni meco sol di rose’, never pushing the voice too hard, but singing tenderly for the most part. But it was the grand scena at Charlemange’s tomb which found Hvorostovsky at his finest, ‘Oh, de’ verd’anni miei’ sung with leonine strength and displaying his legendary long-breathed phrasing before leading the closing ensemble, ‘O sommo Carlo’.
The drama may have emerged creaky, the direction preposterous and the conducting timid. Still, two artists demonstrated the magnetic force of blood-and-guts bel-canto. Ferruccio Furlanetto, a youthful 62, ennobled the ominous utterances of old Silva with granitic strength, dignified passion and dauntless black-bass tone. Dmitri Hvorostovsky illuminated the majestic agonies of Carlo with rolling legato phrases, endless breath and poignant dynamic nuance. Confounding some predictions, he has become a Verdi baritone with few peers. Although golden age is a dangerously hyperbolic term, it actually may apply in these remarkable cases. 
The Classical Review » Blog Archive » Met’s “Ernani” revival proves a variable bag of Verdi
Like any up-and-coming artist, Meade also has faults to iron out. She has a tendency to breathe in the middle of words; and her tone, for all its splendor, sometimes turns squally and seems less than ideally controlled. All the same, to judge by the roar that greeted her big scenes and curtain calls, the Met’s investment in Meade may well garner the company a real star.
Rising star Angela Meade in Met Opera's `Ernani'
A large woman, she could not be slotted into some of the Met's edgier productions, such as Willy Decker's minimalist version of Verdi's "La Traviata" that will return this spring. But for pure singing, she is one vocal thrill after another. Her forte notes are true to the top of the register, her piano notes glisten and her improved lower tones growl with ferocity. Her cavatina "Ernani, Ernani, involami (Ernani, Ernani, save me)" was among the moments of the Met season, with Meade displaying disciplined breath control in her coloratura

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