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"Aida": Live at the MET


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:49 PM

Who saw it, even at the place or via streaming in cinemas...? I went to the movie theater, and...oh my...what a GORGEOUS performance by both Liudmyla Monastyrska in the leading role and La Bo in her usual greatness as Amneris. Poor Alagna was really looking like a piece of cheese in a sandwich between the to wonderful ladies. He was beautiful too, to be honest, but the show was all about those two women. Lavish production, I must say...
A big applause for maestro Luisi.

#2 Helene

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 03:21 PM

It was stellar today, one of the best I've seen. Monastyrska is a true Verdi soprano. I was only sad that they interviewed her at the end of first intermission and I missed all but her greeting.

I've seen this production live and I take issue with the second act staging: I know it solves multiple logistical issues to have the Pharaoh descent to Radames' level, so Radames doesn't have to keep looking upstage, but it doesn't seem believable. Nor do I think the Pharoah and Amneris would have climbed to their throne through the crowds; if anything< I expected them to descend. It's a generally impressive production, though.

#3 SandyMcKean

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 03:38 PM

I'm going to have to wait until the encore performance in January. I had planned on going to the superb AMC theater I usually go to, but we had this big party last night at our house. I got to bed late, and if the truth be told, I was quite tipsy by that time. When I gained consciousness this morning and looked at the clock, it was 9:20am......I rolled over and punted on an attempt to make the 9:55am start.

I'm oh so sad.....but the party was great!! Posted Image Posted Image

#4 Birdsall

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:17 PM

Glad to hear it was good. The only cast member that made me want to go was Olga Borodina who is a GODDESS! But I didn't go. Maybe I will see the encore.

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:37 PM

Glad to hear it was good. The only cast member that made me want to go was Olga Borodina who is a GODDESS! But I didn't go. Maybe I will see the encore.


BB, La Borodina was THE star of the show, definitely. La Monastyrska was obviously more comfortable during the big voice moments, but she also delivered some beautiful pianissimo sequences. Alagna's "Celeste Aida" didn't impress me that much though...

#6 Helene

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:54 PM

I thought Monastyrska did fantastic jobs with both "Retorna vincintor" and "O patria mia."

Cristian, did I imagine it, or did they skip the ballet in the Temple scene?

Go to the encore, Sandy and Birdsall. It was much better than the live performance I saw, with the exception of the mezzo, Irina Mishura.

#7 Birdsall

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:55 AM

I love Olga Borodina, but the mezzo really shouldn't be the best part of Aida!!! LOL Things are getting bad in the world of opera, when I want to see Aida because of the Amneris!!!!

But this Monastyrska, who I have never heard of, sounds good from your reports. You do need good piano singing for "O terra addio!" The tomb scene is one of my favorite scenes in all of opera.

Alagna can get through Radames, but he's not really the right voice type, but in his defense Celeste Aida is a killer entrance!

I will look for the date for the encore and see if I can go. I do love that production.

#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:11 AM

Cristian, did I imagine it, or did they skip the ballet in the Temple scene?


They did indeed, Helene...Posted Image

"O Patria Mia" was delightful...it is an aria that I always feel very personal...

#9 Birdsall

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:04 AM


Cristian, did I imagine it, or did they skip the ballet in the Temple scene?


They did indeed, Helene...Posted Image

"O Patria Mia" was delightful...it is an aria that I always feel very personal...


Did she sing the high C "dolce" as marked or screamed out like so many sopranos?

Caballe's studio recording of Aida ruined me for most Aidas. I like how she sings that aria with a truly "dolce" high C. I want everyone to sing it like her. My favorite recordings are the ones with Caballe and the one with Giannina Arangi-Lombardi from 1928! Love that name: Giannina Arangi-Lombardi!!!

I believe Caballe must have been familiar with Arangi-Lombardi's recordings, b/c she copies Arangi-Lombardi on her Aida recording (to my ears) as well as her rendition of Tosca's Vissi d'arte where Caballe (like Arangi-Lombardi) ends the high note sequence at the end without taking a breath. Absolutely astonishing! I think these two were the only sopranos to sing it that way, but I could be wrong. I suspect Caballe must have been well acquainted with Arangi-Lombardi.

#10 Helene

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:08 AM

I don't remember, but Monastyrska did plenty of pianisimi in this performance, and while she sang plenty of forte, too, she didn't scream anything that I can remember. The tomb scene especially was full of pianisimi -- Alagna used a bunch of falsetto, mainly at the end of "Celeste Aida" and the Tomb Scene, but it sounded to me like he was out-of-tune in the Tomb Scene and was the one who marred it. She sang it beautifully.

Given the choreography in the second act, both in Amneris' chamber and the Triumphal Scene, I didn't miss an attempt at choreography in the temple scene, but I did miss the music. Aside from some temple priestesses who dressed Radames up in his blessed battle wear and who carried the representation of the god to him, it was a very masculine scene, with the women's chorus backstage, which was quite effective. Perhaps that is why they cut the dancing. (I just wondered if I had dozed off unexpectedly and missed it.)

Verdi considered naming the opera "Amneris," and while she doesn't have big arias -- most of her solo singing is interludes -- and Aida has two, the second added after the premiere, Amneris has those great blood-boiling scenes with Radames and the priests. Plus, to her own dismay, she gets the last words. Although mezzos have talked about how the tessitura shifts to be uncomfortably high, and it's by no means easy, the role of Aida is a killer: between the stamina to carry the arias and the Nile Scene (act, really), she's a servant in all of those ensembles, on again, off again as the action shifts, and it must take a huge amount of concentration to keep it all straight and remain credible. For example, in the Triumphal Scene she has a lot to sing and a lot of staging, while Amneris gets to do most of hers sitting on her throne. She also is the victim, dramatically, while Amneris gets most of the fire and the mood swings. There could have been a great confrontation scene in there, right before the Triumphal Scene, which Aida almost starts -- Excuse me, but I'm a Princess in my own right -- but then takes back immediately and starts to grovel. I've always wanted them to have it out there, interrupted by a messenger to summon Amneris to the ceremony, with a "This isn't the end of this discussion" ending, but, alas. The biggest mezzo/soprano scene I can remember is when Eboli confesses to Elisabetta that she planted the jewel box and has been sleeping with the King, and the Queen banishes her. There really isn't an argument. That Verdi even had an extended scene between the Aida and Amneris is unusual.

#11 SandyMcKean

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:44 AM

I will look for the date for the encore and see if I can go. I do love that production.


The Met's official date is 1/16 at 6:30pm (Helene, I will be going). However, a few theaters show the encores on their own schedule; for example, here in the NW there is at least one theater that shows the encores at 1pm on Sundays......so it's worth checking around.

#12 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:19 PM

Monastyrska did use indeed many pianisimi, and she would shift very easy in between her big voice moments and the pianisimi. She was superb!

#13 Birdsall

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:01 PM

I don't remember, but Monastyrska did plenty of pianisimi in this performance, and while she sang plenty of forte, too, she didn't scream anything that I can remember. The tomb scene especially was full of pianisimi -- Alagna used a bunch of falsetto, mainly at the end of "Celeste Aida" and the Tomb Scene, but it sounded to me like he was out-of-tune in the Tomb Scene and was the one who marred it. She sang it beautifully.

Given the choreography in the second act, both in Amneris' chamber and the Triumphal Scene, I didn't miss an attempt at choreography in the temple scene, but I did miss the music. Aside from some temple priestesses who dressed Radames up in his blessed battle wear and who carried the representation of the god to him, it was a very masculine scene, with the women's chorus backstage, which was quite effective. Perhaps that is why they cut the dancing. (I just wondered if I had dozed off unexpectedly and missed it.)

Verdi considered naming the opera "Amneris," and while she doesn't have big arias -- most of her solo singing is interludes -- and Aida has two, the second added after the premiere, Amneris has those great blood-boiling scenes with Radames and the priests. Plus, to her own dismay, she gets the last words. Although mezzos have talked about how the tessitura shifts to be uncomfortably high, and it's by no means easy, the role of Aida is a killer: between the stamina to carry the arias and the Nile Scene (act, really), she's a servant in all of those ensembles, on again, off again as the action shifts, and it must take a huge amount of concentration to keep it all straight and remain credible. For example, in the Triumphal Scene she has a lot to sing and a lot of staging, while Amneris gets to do most of hers sitting on her throne. She also is the victim, dramatically, while Amneris gets most of the fire and the mood swings. There could have been a great confrontation scene in there, right before the Triumphal Scene, which Aida almost starts -- Excuse me, but I'm a Princess in my own right -- but then takes back immediately and starts to grovel. I've always wanted them to have it out there, interrupted by a messenger to summon Amneris to the ceremony, with a "This isn't the end of this discussion" ending, but, alas. The biggest mezzo/soprano scene I can remember is when Eboli confesses to Elisabetta that she planted the jewel box and has been sleeping with the King, and the Queen banishes her. There really isn't an argument. That Verdi even had an extended scene between the Aida and Amneris is unusual.


A shame to hear that Alagna is resorting to falsetto. He was famed for his pianissmi at the beginning of his career.....something many tenors can not or avoid doing.

I agree Amneris is a juicy role.

My favorite cat fight scene is in Anna Bolena, and Anna Netrebko surprised me last season and did it pretty well. I had seen her Vienna Anna Bolena and was not impressed, but she was much more temperamental at the Met, in my opinion. Netrebko rose high in my personal estimation after seeing her Anna Bolena. I think the rumor that she might take on Norma at Covent Garden is exciting news.


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