A new spy debuts in La Cieca’s service, reporting from the first night of WNO’s Lucrezia Borgia:

Overall, I thought the opera was worth the price of attendance.

The costumes of the main characters looked like something from Star Trek.  Renée Fleming‘s hair looked like Tina Turner circa 1984. Fleming was impressive, especially in many of the difficult runs… However, some simple spoken Italian phrases come out almost intelligible. (Once again, I know a lot more about Italian than the mysteries of the voice.)

The Gennaro/Maffio make out scene was a bit vulgar.  I think it the whole homoerotic thing would have played better if it were done with a much subtler hand, sort like the music does.

Placido did a much better job conducting than the first time I saw him conduct.

The great surprise was the tenor, Vitorio Grigolo. He was good in La boheme last year, but even better in Lucrezia. He was superb, great voice and an amazing stage presence. Sometimes I think directors look for any excuse to take the shirt off a tenor just because he has a six pack, ie the last Don Giovanni production I saw at the WNO.  Here it really added to the production.

Our informant also sends a photo snapped in the Kennedy Center gift shop on the night of the opera. Sadly, it does seem the recession is hitting very close to home!