Culture Magazine

Opera Review: Have More Fun in Bed

By Superconductor @ppelkonen
Le Comte Ory at the Metropolitan Opera

Opera Review: Have More Fun in Bed

Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez get cozy in Le Comte Ory.
Photo by Marty Sohl © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera.

The Metropolitan Opera's stellar bel canto franchise rolls on with Tuesday night's performance of Le Comte Ory, Rossini' final comic opera. Written in 1827, Ory is a comic soufflée, a Rossini rarity that has never graced the Met's stage before this season. The opera features third reunion of tenor Juan Diego Flórez and soprano Diana Damrau. This winning combination was enhanced by the addition of mezzo Joyce DiDonato in a trouser role.
Mr. Flórez played the love-struck, titular Count with energy and charm. In the first act, he sounded like he was conserving his voice for the fireworks to come. He compensated with a huge fake beard, pretending to be a wise hermit in an attempt to seduce the Countess Adèle (Ms. Damrau) and every other woman in the cast. The first act was played with sunny verve from the game ensemble players, and featured some stellar high notes from Ms. Damrau. However, the overall effect was one of polite, pretty restraint.
It was in the nocturnal second act that the opera took wing. Mr. Flórez, now decked out in a nun's habit and wimple, sang a glorious duet with Ms. Damrau, letting their remarkable voices fly free. This is also the point where Ms. DiDonato's character becomes key to the plot, as Ory's romantic rival for Adéle. This leads to a classic French farce, with all three principals intertwining vocal lines (and limbs) in a grand trio sung in the Countess' bed.
Other highlights of Act II were the rollocking drinking song, sung with style by baritone Stéphane Degout in the comprimario role of Raimbaud. This provided plenty of opportunity for comic business and clowning by the Met men's chorus. As they swaggered and pranced in their nun's habits, they looked like a road company version of Suor Angelica out on the town for a good time. In the middle of all this tomfoolery, Monica Yunus provided excellent support as Alice, Adele's suspicious servant, and Michele Pertusi held down the bottom end as the Tutor.
This is director Bartlett Sher's second Rossini opera at the Met, and in many ways it feels like a sequel to his Barber of Seville. But while Barber referenced Looney Tunes, Ory drew its comic inspiration from the movies of Mel Brooks, specifically History of the World, Part I. Key to all this comedy was the newly created character of the Prompter. This role was played by dancer Rob Besserer, and served a similar function to his portrayal of Ambrogio in Barber: mute comic relief.
Mr. Sher has Ory play out in a crude wood-and-plaster theater, complete with painted flats, rolling staircases and the requisite arboretum, a visual nod to the Barber. Old-fashioned painted flats and candelabras (with real candles) add to the period feel.  Visible stagehands crank flywheels, manhandle props and set off crude special effects, including thunder-sheets, magic-lantern lightning and a wind machine "liberated" from the Met orchestra pit.  Maurizio Benini led a fizzy performance, but only when prompted to start by Mr. Besserer, who banged a large stick (Lully-style) on the rough wooden stage.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Through the Eyes of My Expat Child! Lessons Learned.

    Through Eyes Expat Child! Lessons Learned.

    People keep saying to me, “Oh your little girl must be loving the normality of being back home in Australia.” I smile, nodding meekly, not wanting to seem... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Mint Mocha Musings
  • Taking Stock – April 2017

    Taking Stock April 2017

    Another Month has come and gone!  We are travelling through 2017 far too quickly!   As much as I would love time to stand still for a moment – it can’t, and it... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Mischieviousmum
  • Soda Sales at Deepest Valley Since 1985

    Soda Sales Deepest Valley Since 1985

    US soda sales are at the lowest since 1985. And they're not likely to pick up soon, as reports about the potentially brain-damaging properties of sugary drinks... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Dietdoctor
  • Cartoon Guide to Biodiversity Loss XLI

    Cartoon Guide Biodiversity Loss

    Number 41 of my semi-regular instalment of biodiversity cartoons, and the first for 2017. See full stock of previous ‘Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss’... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Bradshaw
  • Snow in April

    Snow April

    Seriously what is going on with the weather? I woke up yesterday morning looked out the window and was greeted by beautiful blue skies, brilliant I though to... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Ashley Crombet-Beolens
  • 10 Reasons to Front-toss

    Reasons Front-toss

    Sitting or standing, underhand or overhand, front-toss is tough to beat.There are several ways to practice hitting. Live BP and hitting off a tee are popular... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Meachrm
  • Crooked Federal Judge R. David Proctor, with His Deep-seated Ties to Perjurious...

    Crooked Federal Judge David Proctor, with Deep-seated Ties Perjurious Trump Jeff Sessions, Proves Apple Fall from Tree

    Judge R. David Proctor (center), with family members whohave benefited from ties to corrupt Trump AG Jeff Sessions(From many ways can a... Read more

    The 26 April 2017 by   Rogershuler