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Who is that masked man?

Peter Mattei will sing the opening night of the Met’s new Don Giovanni Thursday, replacing the injured Mariusz Kwiecien. Subbing for Mattei as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia tomorrow and Friday nights will be Rodion Pogossov.


  • Indeed, what a ‘replacement’. You lucky people! IMO Mattei is the finest Giovanni today, since Sir Thomas anyway. They share many qualities I think, only Mattei’s voice seems smoother, bigger and more beautiful, possibly the lesser artist though: his singing can be a bit faceless. But such goegeous tone, it sounds completely natural, devoid of any ‘manufactured’ quality. I mean that his operatic voice sounds as close as possible to his ‘normal’ singing voice. That’s why he doesn’t need any mezza voce manipulation for the ‘Deh vieni’ 2nd stanza -- the voice itself is so naturally beautiful that it just works naturally in this music. I wonder if that’s the kind of sound Luigi Bassi made and Mozart himself was expecting. And Pisaroni is IMO the finest Leporello currenly active. A real basso cantante (on the higher, lighter side of the scale, completely ideal for chamber-sized Mozart). His Leporello, like Mattei’s Giovanni, sounds to me completely natural, lived-in. Delicious! So Met audiences should congratulate themselves for a rare treat.

    Incidentally, Mattei’s recital on BIS has some fine moments, some really beautiful, creamy, effortless singing, although bland at times. But worth buying nevertheless.

    • DurfortDM says:

      I completely agree CF (I think its not necessarily that close) and am pleased that so discerning an observer shares my view. The “competition” (Hvor., Keen., MK himself the first 2 of whom I’ve heard as Don G. -- SK was better, the last I will presumably hear next week) can’t compete with the tone color fluency, ease. I picked up a couple of tickets before AB last night (didn’t know PM was singing but it was so blindingly obvious a choice that even he couldn’t get it wrong -- indeed I’m going to Barbiere tonight b.c. PM was supposed to sing in it) and think it was $35,000 very well spent (and a bargain since I’m sure 2 tickets will cost now less than 50K next week).

      Can’t quite agree on Pisaroni as Leporello. Like him a lot but your exact description of his voice -- “on the higher, lighter side of the scale, completely ideal for chamber-sized Mozart” is precisely the problem for someone who generally prefers somewhat richer, perhaps less correct Mozart. Still, my preference for a Pape (for instance: Furlanetto, my all time favorite, was the Lep in a superb DG last time Mattei sang it here in 2003) is only relative and I certainly look forward to LP as Lep.

      • DurfortDM says:

        Um … check that. My comment respecting Pisaroni was made without having heard his Leporello or indeed CF’s clip above. Having now done so I wouldn’t change my view respecting CF’s description of the voice nor my “general” preferences in this repertoire. However, that is a really really impressive Catalogue (terrific accompaniment by Jurowski (?) as well).

    • iltenoredigrazia says:

      The surprise to me is that if Mattei was available to the Met at this time, why wasn’t he cast as the Don from the beginning?

      • DurfortDM says:

        Indeed. I don’t know but it seems that Kwiecien has been a rising “House Star” ( or something) for a while. He debuted ear very early in his career, has sung here very frequently in choice assignments and it seems there is an attempt to elevate him still further with this Don and the upcoming Onegin (its not only at the Met, of course: he was the Don G in the new Munich production a couple of years ago). Mattei, by contrast, while no stranger to the house has not visited as regularly and has been given fewer high profile opportunities. Hard to say precisely what accounts for this. It might even be Mattei’s reluctance to spend as much time here as such a role would require.

        To be clear, I have nothing against Kwiecien and think he is a perfectly fine singer and quite adequate even for the very big space given him by the Met. Still, the vocal comparison with Mattei does him no favors and in the event Mattei would be available it is inexcusable for a house like the Met not to give him opportunities such as this new Don and the Onegin.

      • luvtennis says:

        I must confess that I have no recollection of anything good about that Swedish Don Carlo on Naxos. Wasn’t Mattei the Posa on thiat recording?

        One of the worst vanity recordings ever.

        • Yes it is, and yes he was, a good Rodrigue, IMO not in the class of Hvoro / Chernov as modern Posas go, nevertheless a saving grace of that awful recording. Better than the short-breathed, tiny Keenlyside!

          I’d rather have him sing it in French, though. Better for the voice and leggiero style.
          It’s not a voice of great drama.

    • Alto says:

      That certainly is a beautiful performance, and maybe not what we might expect if we had only heard about his “lighter” voice. It has real quality.

      (Is it universally known that Luca is Thomas Hampson’s step-son-in-law — though they prefer to leave out the “step”?)

  • Camille says:

    For all those Peter Mattei as Don Giovanni enthusiasts (as well, for Netrebko fans and Terfel,too):

    Opera in Cinema will be broadcasting the opening night La Scala production of Don Giovanni, with the artists noted above (Daniel Barenboim conducting), on Wednesday, the 7th of December, @ 12 noon (EDT).

    See for full details.

    In NYC there will be a repeat broadcast on the following Sunday, the 11th.

  • zinka says:

    We all know who that masked man was…but did you know Tonto killed him..because one of his Hispanic friends told him what his name meant….not only that, he found out that in Yiddish, “Chimosabe” means “You are a fegala.”

  • Bianca Castafiore says:

    Did anyone note the passing of Ingvar Wixell? I must have missed the post, if they did…

  • Tenorfach says:

    There is a strong rumour that Kwiecien is undergoin back surgery today ……… anyone heard anything??

    Is it something with the MET and it staff suffering back problems?? Well, one cannot help but wonder…..


    • CruzSF says:

      Kwiecien just had back surgery yesterday. Do you mean he’s having another procedure done TODAY?

    • bassoprofundo says:

      this just shows how self-centered the world has become… everyone who has been reading Parterre or news about the Met has known for days that Kwiecien is going to have surgery. One person reads it somewhere or hears it from someone, and thinks “oh, I have exclusive info, I bet no one knows this!”—then comes to Parterre without reading any of the comments and posts it as if it is divine revelation. Hello, there! other people exist in the world, too, doncha know…

  • Tenorfach says:

    Quite possibly -- but not everyone ready ABSOLUTELY everything regarding the MET every single day -- Hello there! Some have other lives too………….. like keeping a job, not all of us are made of money!