Friday, November 04, 2005

Tenor watch

It appears the new, improved Marcelo Alvarez won't heard on broadcast after all -- he's out of the two April performances of Manon. In his place will be a tenor new to me and I believe to the house -- Massimo Giordano. Oddly, des Grieux isn't even listed on his official website's repertory page! Hm.

Meanwhile, another Italian tenor has prompted much praise: debutee Giuseppe Filianoti, whom I saw in his third Met performance a few hours ago. He's a thinnish, fairly handsome man. In the part of Edgardo, his hair played up a certain facial resemblance to Jude Law, which was apt: Filianoti carried himself about the stage with Law's reactiveness and slightly unhinged self-regard. It's a compelling, energetic assumption in itself. When he sings, however, he has this amusing compulsion to turn dead downstage and assume one of the three Standard Tenor Poses. Even when he's on his knees, supposedly holding his guts in! Unlike Geoff Riggs, I do not take this as a virtue -- and neither, I'm sure, did the audience members cracking up at the end of the opera. (Though perhaps we could blame stage director Zoe Pappas...)

But his singing, that's something else. The sound is firm and plangent, reminiscent of Neil Shicoff's. The breath is remarkable, and Filianoti has a sympathetic's native way with Italian. The high notes are thrilling, the strongest most ringing part of the instrument, and he can hold them to great effect. And -- as one might guess from his energetic (non-singing) manner on the stage -- he responds to the excitement and tension of the music, while his phrasing remains emphatic and sure. The Act II curse was a marvelous display of all these virtues. Wow.

*     *     *

When this Lucia production premiered in 1998, Met audiences were treated to a jaw-droppingly beautiful account of Arturo by the then-unknown Matthew Polenzani. His eminence among lighter lyric tenors has since become clear, and is confirmed by the current run of Cosi. (More on that in another post.) I believe non-New York audiences mostly just know Polenzani for Rossini, which is too bad. He's a decent Rossinian, but peerless as David, the Steersman, Iopas, and the like (including, yes, Ferrando).

1 comment:

  1. Massimo Giordano was Wilhelm in OONY's recent "Mignon." He was sick, so I can't give an overall assessment, but his basic sound seems handsome enough. That said, Massenet's Des Grieux at the Met is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. On verra?


Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.