Friday, October 31, 2008
The first act didn't bode well - German soprano Anja Harteros had an effortful time getting through the coloratura passages in Violetta's "Sempre libera" and Italian tenor Massimo Giordano's acting as Alfredo was of the silent movie pantomime variety - big showy gestures, but no convincing passion. He improved only incrementally, but she sprang to vivid life in the second act once the most challenging coloratura runs and trills were behind her. She's of the new generation of opera performers who are cognizant of opera as theatre and, based on the rich, expressive colors in her voice and the her well-judged acting opposite Zeljko Lucic (who made a top-notch Germont on all levels) she's worth watching out for. It's also worth watching out for when the new Peter Gelb helmed Met retires this Zeffirelli production - the ornately overdecorated sets are like one gaudy jewel box after another designed for pageant rather than theatricality.