Got to see the last DVo Ariadne at Covent Garden last night.
You know what? I think I'm officially done writing about how new Voigt holds up against old Voigt. Trying to gauge whether a voice is living up to expectations generated by CD recordings of nearly a decade ago is no way to watch or assess a show. Is there a different sound today? Clearly. But time passes and voices change, and unless it's an outright decline issue, there's no use agonizing over the differences.
Anyhow. I enjoyed her a great deal last night. The sound was powerful and big and rich, and far more present than it felt in the Frosch at Lyric. The middle was a bit choppier relative to the soaring top, but one hardly gave a damn by the finale.
As for the less thanked Frosch transplant, Robert Dean Smith: I don't know what was wrong with him in Chicago last year, but you know, between this and his Tristan showing, I may just start going to stuff only because Robert Dean Smith is in it. Is it weird to go to Strauss for the tenor? Be honest.
Zerbinetta was one Gillian Keith, a name I haven't heard before--she served up an admirable enough "Grossmachtige...", but it lacked a certain finesse and didn't inspire that giddy "HOLY SHIT" feeling one hopes for. Life lesson: showpieces only work when they look completely effortless, other wise you kind of just want to tell them there's no need for all the fuss.
I was very partial to Kristine Jepson's Komponist (you may recognize her as a Stefano for a Met R&J). I've been more intrigued by the role since hearing the Troyanos tape on Sirius a few times this spring, and it was fun to hear it live with that in mind, though my opera buddy thought her big notes left a bitter aftertaste.
PS, Covent Garden cheap seats SUCK. They are just armless chairs squeezed as close as possible together and the air conditioning in the upper reaches is pathetic. Plus it is London so everyone has a jacket on because British July is like New York October. Clearly it wasn't enough for the Victorian lower classes to get cholera and spend their childhoods making articifial flowers, they also deserved to be super uncomfortable at the opera. If one can stomach the nausea inducing exchange rate, it is seriously worth it to spring for a lower balcony.