Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ernani is Revived at the Met

Vengeance and loyalty are two significant themes in Victor Hugo's "Hernani", which was set to music by Giuseppe Verdi in 1844.  Verdi's opera is under the Italian title of "Ernani." This opera is early Verdi at it's finest where he takes the melodies of Bellini and declamatory style of Donizetti and increases the size of the orchestra while raising each voice parts tessitura.  The current production of "Ernani" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York features Angela Meade as Elvira, Roberto De Biasio and Marcello Giordani as Ernani, Dmitri Hvorosrovsjy as Don Carlo and Ferruccio Furlanetto as Silva.  The Metropolitan opera chorus and orchestra are conducted by Marco Armiliato.  The opera "Ernani" requires very good singers.  How do these singers measure up?   Angela Meade sang with ease from bottom to top, and with power in the big ensembles.  Roberto De Biasio sang Ernani solidly, but was not on the same level as Ms. Meade.  His tenor carried well in the Metropolitan Opera house though.  Dmitri Hvorostovsky got applause from the audience when he came out, and it was well deserved.  His presence and upper range as Don Carlo were strong.  His singing of "vieni meco" at the end of act two was a lovely moment.  His lower and middle range seemed manufactured in that he was trying to make it sound bigger than it was, and therefore, it was not authentic.  Ferruccio Furlanetto is 62 years old and still singing brilliantly.  He wisely mentioned in an interview that it is smart to wait until you are older and more mature to play an older character.  Ruy Gomez di Silva is one of those older characters.  He is near death, and his love for Elvira keeps him going.  Furlanetto not only sang well, he also acted the character  with great intention.  Maestro Armiliato led a strong performance from the orchestra and chorus.  Although, he and the soloists were not together in a few spots.  The chorus sang well, and they did not drag behind the beat thanks to the maestro.  I like Armiliato's approach to the score, and was especially pleased with the Act I prelude. The opera is being performed February 18th and 25th with Marcello Giordani taking over the role of Ernani.

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