Turandot -- Metropolitan Opera, 01/04/10
Guleghina, Kovalevska, Licitra, Tian / Nelsons
It was no surprise to find, in last season's Queen of Spades, Maria Guleghina lacking in delicacy and romantic ardor. But to hear her in this performance having seemingly no high notes left, ducking loud climaxes, and otherwise short-changing the icy violence of the Princess Turandot was just shocking: Guleghina has always been, if nothing else, reliably loud and forceful. There was no illness notice -- did she sound like this in the moviecast?
Salvatore Licitra sang a pretty good account of Calaf, except... I wonder if his mistake was to try to sing all the separate syllables of "Nessun dorma"'s final "vincero". The big B came out quite poorly and the show went on after the aria with no applause whatsoever. Oops. Still, a decent night on the whole.
Maija Kovalevska -- a favorite at this blog -- was making her role debut as Liu. She certainly doesn't have as beefy a sound as her two aforementioned colleagues, but as ever sings with an eloquence neither can come close to matching. She got the only really enthusiastic response at curtain calls.
Kovalevska's (Latvian) countryman Andris Nelsons did a commendable job in the pit.
I have some thoughts on the piece, but they can wait for a better overall performance. Lise Lindstrom is scheduled for one more show in the title part at the end of the month: it's too bad I missed (from my own illness) her sole scheduled performance with Kovalevska last Saturday. Absent news that Guleghina was sick and is now quite better, I discourage seeing any non-Lindstrom Turandots.