Cher Public

“The cold bothered me, anyway”

“It was the chilliest opening night at the Met in years on Monday—barely 15 degrees when the curtain went up on the company premiere of La Donna del Lago. But you can’t blame the polar vortex for the audience’s cool reception of this tuneful but dramatically inert Rossini melodrama.” [New York Observer] (Photo: Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera)

  • laddie

    Wonderful review JJ: “the splendor of Amsterdam Avenue” made me laugh.

    • antikitschychick

      Omg yes!! Chuckled so much at that and poor Ms. Barcelona looking like Bruce Jenner apparently; la pobre! Great review by JJ. Looking forward to the HD of this if only for the great singing by all the leads, great conducting and fierce acting by JDD.

  • In other news … this GM doesn’t know much about opera.

    • redbear

      A correct observations is that he can’t easily identify standard opera arias. His grasp of the art is certainly in no need of defense.

  • Satisfied

    Well said, LC! Especially with regard to the production!

    I will add, having see the production in Santa Fe, a breathtaking desert setting does not a production make.

    • laddie

      Not only that, but when they dare to build a closed set at Santa Fe, the sound is always much better.

      • As is also true more generally: the fashion for empty stages with a handful of large props is of no help to the poor singers trying to project sound into the house.

  • RobNYNY

    Thanks for the gratuitous transgender slam.

    • antikitschychick

      Rob, I’m sorry if my joke about Bruce Jenner offended you. I honestly didn’t mean to make any slams against transgender individuals; my joke was more a reaction to what Cieca said the mezzo looked like, as I don’t think the intended effect of a trouser role is to have the character look trasngender…though I suppose there’s no harm in having her play that role as a transgendered individual. It would certainly make the opera more relevant.

    • Flora del Rio Grande

      RobNY: I did not find Mme La Cieca’s transgender comment anything other than a joke. And the appearance of the unfortunately turned out mezzo, as with others in the cast of Lago, was just a JJ wrote,
      and exactly the same in Curran’s Santa Fe presentation.
      Thank you, JJ, for a gracefully written and quite
      accurately observed report; I found it right on and very nice to read. It is of archival value more than most of the DDL reviews I’ve seen. Your appreciation of the positive value of DiDonato’s work is quite sensitive and valid; I was glad to see it.
      From Flora del Rio Grande

  • DonCarloFanatic

    This production was a dog in Santa Fe but I was happy to hear Lawrence Brownlee sing it live. If this Winter From Hell will stop dumping snow on us, maybe I can get to the HD and see JDF sing it, too. The audio from the European production of a few years ago is one of my favorites. No distracting, elaborate sets, or--that’s right, there was hardly a set in Santa Fe and now there’s even less. An artistic triumph for the Met, to be sure. Being paid to eviscerate what already is about nothing is quite the sinecure.

    • laddie

      COC got the better deal purchasing the Maometto II David Alden production from Santa Fe. I can’t say whether it’s a better opera than LDDL but the production was infinitely more entertaining.

    • messa di voce

      Wasn’t the Met originally going to get the ROH production, which was also bad but in a different way?

  • Some live clips from opening night have snuck onto YT:

  • overstimmelated

    Move over, Tony —

    “Juan Diego Florez, one of the most handsome men in the world, is made for longing. His voice is filled with boyish and melancholy desire; the plaintive zeal with which he sings the high register evokes the most exquisite kind of need tinged with a sense of how sad loss will make him…”

    --Colm Tóibín in The Spectator — whose review (but not this passage) is quoted in the Met’s Donna del Lago ad.

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/culturehousedaily/2015/02/la-donna-del-lago-met-opera-review-colm-to/

    • Camille

      Very interesting to me—as I have a lot of respect for Tóibín as a writer, but he shows me that, even as a great writer, it does not necessarily mean one would/should/could also be a great critic, or even particularly bothered with being burdened by any particular or specific knowledge of the subject being critiqued.

    • Grane

      “…a sense of how sad loss will make him?” That’s an absolute clunker.

  • Camille

    “She clambered out of a hole in the floor”??!!???

    Now I see what all you SantaFeans were complaining about. That entrance is a defining moment and without it, all the romanticism instead goes down the sewer. What a lost opportunity for Regie, for I am sure there would have been a spectacular way of creating this ‘lake effect’ with the technological equipage available oggi come oggi.

    Quite a lovely, precise and detailed review; really one of the best I’ve read from La Cieca’s amanuensis for quite some time.

    A long time ago I went on a hunt for all the Walter Scott operas and found some website dedicated to that very subject. If I am not badly misremembering, it was this very same opera, La Donna del Lago which began the huge vogue for so many Scott based operas in the teens and twenties. Maybe I shall go looking for it…..no, it either no longer exists or I have not managed after quite some search, to access it. Too bad. There is this book on the subject of Scott operas, not new, but from 1977:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Walter-Scott-Operas-Analysis/dp/0817364013

    There is a JStor.org review of the book and there is the Wikipedia page on the topic of opera in Scotland, but that specific page I found years ago does not seem to be around now. Perhaps someone can find it, if interested. And there seem to have been a few operas written before La Donna del Lago on Scottish subjects. Perhaps it is only the case that this one, with its idyllic opening scene of its heroine singing to the morning in her skiff upon the lake, stimulated the romantic notions that lent such impetus to the whole movement. I don’t know, as I was unfortunately not there to witness Sig.ra Colbran glide over the waters of that Loch.

    • Cicciabella

      Probably the director spent too much time studying German Regie and confused the Scottish loch with the German Loch, which means hole. Regrettable.

  • opera-cake

    Rossini serio is a major challenge for any director, including the talented ones.

    Over the past several years we could see some truly catastrophic productions of this opera, and the only one who managed to make it dramatically appealing was Christof Loy (presented first in Geneva and then at the Theater an der Wien).

    All in all this opera, imho, deserves revivals but in concerts versions only.

    • semira mide

      Anyone here see the 2001 Luca Ronconi production of La Donna Del Lago?

  • alejandro

    I wonder if this means rush/standing room will be easy to get Wed. I need a visit to the Met.