Caught the last night of "The Azucena Show" featuring Dolora Zajick (aka Il Trovatore) at Lyric yesterday. Needless to say, DZ owns this role like Satan owns Dick Cheney. I saw the Met vid with her and Pavoratti a while back, so it was quite a pleasure to see it in person. I mean:
Except that I also want to say how very, very much I am in love with the low end of that woman's voice. I would gladly trade in some high bits, thrilling as they are, just to hear that light-bending black hole that is her lower register a few more times. *Chills*
SandRad was in tremendous form as Leonora. After seeing the Cyrano sans Domingo last year, J called her: "that hard to find perfect balance of presence and delicacy--creating a beautiful sound yet never losing full command of the stage," and I am inclined to agree. I feel like most renditions one hears of the big Leonora songs error on the side of the priddy, but Radvanovsky doesn't really settle for the priddy. Instead, she uses miraculous control over her instrument to perform them like a cat in opera heat. For instance, towards the end of D'amor sull'ali rosee, she spun out this one line longer than most people can hold their breath underwater, covering just about every shade of anguish the human voice is capable of short of shrieking. The audience sounded like they'd been tasered. Granted, the price of that commitment might be a few less than in sync patches (although she can turn on the accuracy something fierce when she wants to) but I for one am glad to pay it.
As for the Count, let me note again that Mark Delavan is just a classy, classy, dude. The man is a pro in the finest sense of the word. Nothing is ever forced or blown off. Everything is elegance and poise. And what's not to love about that marvelous cavern of a voice? For my money, his big number outside of the convent was just about as close to the ideal Verdian art of the baritone as one can hope for.
Vincenzo La Scola (Manrico Due for this run) has a top that's more yodel than ping. And some pitch issues. But he gave a very touching Act IV, so I forgave a bit. And while a good Manrico is awfully nice, I get the sense that the lack of one doesn't make or break a good Trovatore.
This new production...sand...ramparts...revolve...phoned in...cheap Goya reference on scrim...blah, blah, blah.
I guess that's it for Chicago opera for the time being (tho I might still suffer the Gounod and go to an R&J before Xmas). The next *pair* of productions here are stupid Flaydermowce and Turan-dont (Gruber is still around). Otherwise, I'll be waiting til February for Cosi/Carmelites or hopping a plane back to NY. We'll see how long I can hold out...