Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The crash

Maury, Sieglinde, and pretty much every voice on the internet has commented on tenor Rolando Villazon's painful Act II wipeout in last night's Met Lucia.

I wasn't there, because Anna Netrebko can no longer sing fiorature in tune. In any case, the question is: what now? Villazon apparently recovered for a decent (if down-transposed) third Act, but I assume that barring some miraculous recovery it will be too much of a risk to put him on the air for the moviecast less than two weeks from today.

Met GM Peter Gelb actually has two tenors on hand who've sung in the production. Giuseppe Filianoti (now in Rigoletto) did it last spring -- but he has his own vocal issues. Piotr Beczala, who is supposed to be in the Onegin revival that begins Friday, won much acclaim as Edgardo here in October. I suspect Gelb will just substitute Beczala, though he could also fly in somebody like Joseph Calleja (scheduled for Edgardo here in a few years, and spending much of this season singing it in Germany) and avoid disrupting another production's cast. (Incidentally, Marcello Giordani -- who sang in this Lucia production's premiere -- will be in Levine's Boston Symphony performances of Simon Boccanegra over the next week.)

If I were GM, though, I'd also at least consider cancelling the live broadcast and moviecasting the 2007 opening night performance of Lucia (with Natalie Dessay and Giordani) instead. The master (from the plaza and Times Square simulcast) definitely exists, as the mad scene was released separately on DVD as a bonus to a Dessay CD. Probably won't happen, though, as the lure of the new is strong.


  1. Mr. Beczala for the HD broadcast please! Also don't forget the original RV, the always reliable, dependable Sr. Vargas. He seems to be free in Feb.

  2. But I hate Ramon in heavy rep....and very frankly....this could be too heavy for him... I'll take Vargas as a Nemorino over any working tenor but as an Edgardo.... I'll take Beczala.

    As for Villazon... He needs to take some time to let his voice heal....AGAIN and then get back to the lighter roles. If he did nothing until his Met Nemorino and then laid off of the big stuff for a while I think he'd return to tip-top shape. Who knows what his management is feeding him though

  3. I'm not sure he's sung it in recent years, but a decade ago Vargas was a standard-setting Edgardo here (with Swenson). That really cemented his New York reputation, as I recall.

    On the other hand, I thought his Lensky literally ideal, so I'd love to see him in either potential opening... I doubt he'd fly in just to cover a few Onegins, though.

    I'm not sure Villazon's problem is management (his own or companies') so much as himself. The hunger and manic energy that make him so compelling onstage is probably hard to turn off in life. Who knows, though? I do hope there's some way back for him.


Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.