If one can say this a few veteran performer, a star was born Friday night time on the Met, as soprano Aleksandra Kurzak dominated the stage for 3 hours as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata.
No stranger to the home, Kurzak has appeared in half a dozen lyric roles over the previous decade and a half, successful admiration for her exceptionally full, creamy tone, vocal agility, and delicate expression.
But to hold the present in what is actually a three-person drama revolving round her character, experiencing the very best of giddy highs and the darkest of despairing lows, is likely one of the nice challenges within the opera repertoire.
Kurzak met it with glowing coloratura in Act I and deeply affecting phrasing as her character’s fortunes and well being declined. High vary or low, in aching pianissimo or passionate forte, her voice crammed the Met’s huge area with out a trace of pressure.
To be honest, her efficiency was extra a musical triumph than a dramatic one. In the brilliance of Act I’s “Sempre libera,” one noticed extra the proud, very important vocal athlete than the heedless party-girl character, and in purely stage phrases it was arduous to purchase the robustly healthy-looking, mature singer as a consumptive teen. (Verdi, realist that he was, had related reservations concerning the soprano who created the position in Venice in 1853.)
But if there have been extra dramatically convincing Violettas, few have matched Kurzak for vocal opulence and expressive supply. One may, actually, hearken to her sing for hours.
Tenor Dmytro Popov was a sturdy Alfredo in a efficiency that emphasised rectitude over impulsivity. The devil-may-care fellow who received a reluctant Violetta’s coronary heart together with his mad ardour was a little bit arduous to seek out in Popov’s clear, polished supply. One believed he was loopy about Violetta as a result of he stated he was.
A welcome return from the Michael Mayer manufacturing’s first staging final season was baritone Quinn Kelsey as Alfredo’s father Giorgio Germont. In certainly one of Verdi’s most unique characterizations, Germont comes on at first as the strict voice of social morals and respectability, however finally ends up admiring and even loving the courtesan he got here to scold. In a vocally non-showy position, Kelsey greater than held his personal with spectacular performing abilities, a barely gruff forward-placed voice, and impeccable diction.
The opera’s half-dozen different roles operate largely as foils to Violetta, however that didn’t stop performers reminiscent of Maria Zifchak because the devoted maid Annina, Trevor Scheunemann because the haughty lover Baron Douphol, Megan Marino as greatest buddy Flora, and Paul Corona because the sympathetic Doctor Grenvil from convincingly inhabiting their characters.
The unhappy, ethereal strings sounded a trifle scratchy within the opera’s opening bars, however conductor Karel Mark Chichon quickly had the orchestra respiratory with the singers and subtly weaving the drama’s moods from exuberant to tragic. The strings’ shuddering heartbeat underneath Act III despatched chills.
Ironically, contemplating that Verdi wished a up to date drama however the Venetian censor insisted on a setting circa 1700, set designer Christine Jones gave this manufacturing a neoclassical look, with pillars, an open dome and stylized trellises that crowd in to make the lovers’ bower in Act II.
Kevin Adams’s temper lighting, with colours typically bordering on garish, sculpted the set in response to the character of the music and advised the varied interiors laid out in Francesco Maria Piave’s libretto.
While Susan Hilferty’s good-looking costumes appeared fully life like for 1853, the remainder of the manufacturing design, and the dumb-show sequences in the course of the preludes to Act I and Act III, appeared to echo Mayer’s Rat Pack Rigoletto for the Met. The Vegas-like (or Venetian?) fantasy appeared considerably at odds with the up to date city social dilemmas confronting the three predominant characters.
But the Act II celebration dance of gypsies and matadors—choreographed by Lorin Latarro and miraculously executed by a dozen ballet performers on a stage already filled with forged, refrain, and furnishings—was a creature of Piave’s libretto, not a designer’s creativeness.
La Traviata continues by March 19. Beginning February 26, Lisette Oropesa will seem as Violetta, Piero Pretti as Alfredo, and Luca Salsi as Giorgio Germont, and Bertrand de Billy will conduct. metopera.org; 212-362-2000.