(Anna Netrebko e Rolando Villazón em Lucia di Lammermoor, de Donizetti)
Por fim, a dupla lírica do momento - Villazón & Netrebko (ele um pouco apatetado, comme d'habitude, domage...) debuta no Met em Lucia di Lammermoor, numa produção que, há um bom par de anos, inundou de glória Natalie Dessay:
The impressive qualities of her singing were amply on display as the fragile Lucia, who has fallen in love with the enemy of her clannish family in Scotland, Edgardo, but is forced to marry a wealthy nobleman to rescue the family from financial ruin. Ms. Netrebko remains a glamorous and charismatic singer with an opulent and poignantly lovely voice.
During her first scene, in the haunting aria “Regnava nel silenzio,” she shaped the arching phrases with rich sound and lyrical suppleness. She has always valued expressive nuances and impetuosity over rhythmic precision and flawless execution. Vocal connoisseurs who believe that Ms. Netrebko has no business singing daunting coloratura roles like Lucia could point to rough patches and indistinct passagework in her performance to validate their opinion.
Yet during the first part of the mad scene, after Lucia stabs her husband to death on their wedding night, Ms. Netrebko was spellbinding. In the hushed pianissimo passage when the delusional young woman believes she and her beloved Edgardo are at last united, she created vocal magic, imbuing lines with spectral colorings that matched the eerie sounds of the glass harmonica, played by Cecilia Brauer. Her earthy, subdued expressivity had me thinking of Callas.
Finally, though, I wanted a little more accuracy in her work. And Ms. Netrebko’s attempt to dispatch the two traditionally interpolated high E flats during the mad scene proved a bad idea. Nothing in Donizetti’s score mandates those top notes.
Before the final act Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, announced from the stage that Mr. Villazón had been singing despite being ill and would finish the performance, but he requested the audience’s indulgence. Several cracked top notes during Mr. Villazón’s performance did seem evidence of indisposition.
At one point he turned an aborted high note into a dramatic coup. It came during the wedding scene, when Edgardo denounces Lucia for her faithlessness in an unaccompanied phrase. Mr. Villazón, a compelling actor, broke off the note he was struggling with, looked at Ms. Netrebko menacingly in silence, cleared his throat, then sang it again, this time with vehemence.
In late 2007 and early 2008, after a spate of vocal troubles, Mr. Villazón canceled months of performances, including Met appearances with Ms. Netrebko in “Roméo et Juliette,” to tend to his vocal and general health. This was his first Met appearance since, and his many fans can only hope that illness was the problem here, not the return of technical troubles. Still, much of his singing was impassioned and affecting, filled with dramatic flair and elegant phrasing.