|Sonya Yoncheva as Violetta and Michael Fabino as Alfredo|
And a really big clock.
Photo: Marty Sohl, Metropolitan Opera
|Michael Fabiano and Sonya Yoncheva|
Photo: Metropolitan Opera
We are not of one mind about the character of Giorgio Germont. Is he administering tough love to protect his daughter, or is he a controlling swine interested only in his social position? In the hands of baritone Thomas Hampson and director Willy Decker, he was a bit of both. We never believed his gestures of regret in the last act. Very telling is the moment when Germont takes the focus off of Violetta's and Alfredo's suffering to make them aware of his own supposed remorse. We're also not of one mind about Mr. Hampson's portrayal of the role. He has had great success as Germont for many years, but on Saturday one heard some occasional vocal fatigue, and his low notes were not powerful. One is reminded of his younger days, when he was a delightful Guglielmo, Figaro, and Count Almaviva (in Le Nozze di Figaro)—all higher, lighter roles. We must admit the playful, self-congratulatory air he occasionally had with those roles converted well into a self-absorbed air as Germont.
As usual, the Metropolitan Opera Chorus sang and acted well as revelers in the party scenes, although some of the directorial and costuming choices left one confused or simply dissatisfied. The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, under the skillful hand of Nicola Luisotti, played the score with precision and expression.
Would I recommend this opera? The cast is a very good reason to see it. Will I see it again? Only for a new cast as exciting as the current one.