Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lucia, Calleja, Dessay, and the Baby Boomers

I have spent many years attending The Metropolitan Opera productions, and yesterday my brother and his wife treated me to the season's final performance of Lucia di Lammermoor, one of my favorite opera's and the role of Edgardo, one I have studied thoroughly and on several occasions have had the good fortune to sing excerpts from.

The last time I saw Lucia was the final performance of this opera by Joan Sutherland in the title role. She was in her sixties but was a force to be reckoned with. In short, it was some of the most spectacular singing I've ever heard. In this production, Lucia was sung by Natalie Dessay, a current favorite at the house. I could not help remembering Sutherland but I understood the magnitude of what it means to share such a role with an icon whom we just lost. Dessay is to be commended.

However, the very brightest moment for me was Joseph Calleja. I had been wanting to hear him and he did not disappoint in any way. He was indeed reminiscent of the great tenors of the past.
His honesty, masculinity, beauty of tone, and forthright attitude was an obvious crowd pleaser. He and the male contingent, baritone Ludovic Tezier and bass Kwangchul Youn, were as solid as a rock.

I was pleased to be sitting in a box seat, which my sister-in-law's family has held for years. I was very aware of the audience which was primarily made up of Baby Boomers. There was a warm, sincere, and friendly atmosphere. A sense that the audience knew how important it is to champion excellence and beauty at a time when the country and the world are in need, and that we were, just for four hours, able to recharge and hopefully take away the spirit of this performance.

We ended our day by having dinner at Don Giovanni's, at 44th and 9th. It was a near perfect experience and to this very moment I still hear Mr. Calleja's gentle and heartfelt outpouring of ("Tu che a Dio"). As a fellow tenor and teacher he has my vote. BRAVO!!!!

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