Thomas Hampson (Don Carlo) and Sondra Radvanovsky (Elvira) in Ernani,
Metropolitan Opera, 2008, photo by Marty Sohl
Martin Bernheimer, Virus season at the Met (Financial Times, March 20)
Bernard Holland, From the Attic, a Verdi Craves Attention (New York Times, March 19)
Jay Nordlinger, Verdi, Strong & Steady (New York Sun, March 19)
Harry Rolnick, The Splendid and the Silly (ConcertoNet, March 19)
The production is a revival of Pier-Luigi Samaritani's staging from 1983, and it remains overblown, fluffy, and dated. Huge paintings, billowing curtains, enormous towers, vast moonscapes were little more than stage space-filling backdrop for the plain staging by Peter McClintock. If poor Sondra Radvanovsky had to sing plaintively on her knees one more time, often perched precariously on oversized stairs, she was going to need physical therapy. The costumes by Peter J. Hall were handsome enough, with additional credit going to various designers for the multiplicity of hats and furs. Conductor Roberto Abbado did as well as one could expect with the perfunctory overture, which is over before much of it registers at all on the ear. He is not as authoritative a presence on the podium, and the orchestra did not always sound that attentive to him. When the singers got ahead of the beat, as happened more than once, he was efficient at realigning the ensemble. The on-stage banda played well, especially in the wedding number with castanets in Act IV.
Marcello Giordani (Ernani) and Sondra Radvanovsky (Elvira) in Ernani,
Metropolitan Opera, 2008, photo by Suzanne DeChillo
This opera will be repeated at the matinee performance today (March 29, 1:30 pm), broadcast live on the Met radio broadcast, as well as on April 2, 5, and 10.