The other principals did pretty much what was expected. If you like them, you'll like them, which I do -- with caveats. Juan Diego Florez, for one thing, began the night with his seemingly-customary bout of pitch issues, though this did eventually settle. As usual, I found his refinement, fluency, and control admirable, while not being able to shake memories of Vargas-as-Rossinian. To my ears, Florez's sound is pleasant but unremarkable and somewhat lacking in masculinity. (Yes, there are women who disagree -- strongly -- with this assessment.) Diana Damrau, whom perhaps only I faulted in last year's Ariadne, was just as fluent-but-heartless here. But though her control reigned throughout, actual tone on the acuti varied quite a bit.
The lineup sort of echoes the spring's Don Pasquale, which I found such a trial. A great baritone, Florez, and an uncharmingly attractive female lead, plus a low-voiced figure of fun. But that's not entirely fair. For one thing, John Del Carlo was an excellent Don Pasquale in his lone evening last season -- infinitely more human than the first-cast Alaimo, if less vocally clear -- and he does similar work here. For another, Damrau hasn't been encouraged to chew scenery quite as uninhibitedly as Netrebko did; her outbursts come mostly in the form of semi-appropriate flamenco posturing. It still reeks of sitcom, but the antics have moved up from sidekick (total nuttiness) to lead (must leave room for romantic subplot).
I suppose the third surprise was how lively and un-routine Maurizio Benini's conducting turned out. After some really unimpressive Met outings, last spring's Luisa Miller and this Barber may constitute a more promising trend.
So how does it add up? It depends, I think, how much you like the current cast. The production's no draw. If you're neither a Damrau nut nor a Florez completist, I suggest waiting for hugely talented American mezzo Joyce DiDonato, who might give the whole proceeding a more human kick. It could use one.
(That is, I suppose I agree with all the negative bits from here, here, here, and even here.)
I promised thoughts on Butterfly, but that will have to wait.