Gheorghiu and Kaufmann turn violet again in Adriana Lecouvreur

(Not in concert.)

I went to see the ever-elusive Angela Gheorghiu and the happily ubiquitous Jonas Kaufmann in the Opera Orchestra of New York’s concert Adriana Lecouvreur at Carnegie Hall last night and I wrote about it for Bachtrack:

“I will return! I want to again be
intoxicated by the triumphant smile of art!” proclaims the actress
Adriana Lecouvreur in the extravagant opera of the same title. With this
role, the soprano Angela Gheorghiu returned to New York in the first
performance of the Opera Orchestra of New York’s Carnegie Hall season.
After financial difficulties the company itself has been making a
comeback as well, under new musical director Alberto Veronesi. For over
40 years, the group has produced concert performance of lesser-known
operas with outstanding casts, and this evening was a fine continuation
of that tradition, with strong performances from Jonas Kaufmann,
Ambrogio Maestri, and Anita Rachvelishvili in the other major roles.

Click here to read the full review.

I saw them in this last year in London and then I was conflicted between being overwhelmed and oddly not-quite-whelmed. In concert, this opera actually seems to work better. The music isn’t quite top drawer but it has a kind of sincerity and directness that can be both beguiling and exciting. This came through more clearly without having to think about the silly plot or David McVicar’s futile attempt to give the happenings some symbolic substance. The opera has emotional power but it lacks strong dramatic syntax, and it’s better when you focus on the former strength rather than the latter weakness. (It should be noted, though, that Angela’s couture for this concert was most impressive as well, both dresses very 1970’s, the first resembling a disco ball and the second a low-cut nightgown with a rhinestone belt and attached cape.)

This didn’t stop me from writing down some silly surtitles, though:

  • Love is a flame, friendship is its ashes.
  • I love him with the fiery recklessness of one who has had her heart taken for the first time.
  • You’re the sun that gilds the eternal Arctic night.
  • Their eyes flash like pairs of blades, showing no mercy.
  • Our love defies fate, eludes death in golden dreams.

Nevertheless, I was totally crying at the end, go figure.

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