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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Metropolitan Opera Preview: La Donna del Lago

Joyce DiDonato reprises the title role in this Rossini rarity.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Scotland the Brave: Joyce DiDonato shines in La Donna del Lago.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2015 The Metropolitan Opera.
The Met continues its Rossini revival with one of the bona fide hits of last year: La Donna del Lago ("The Lady of the Lake"). Paul Curran's production bowed in 2013 at Santa Fe. At the Met, the magnificent natural vistas of New Mexico are replaced with scenery. (It was either that or knock out the back of the opera house and give the audience a backdrop of Amsterdam Avenue.)

Rossini was at the height of his considerable abilities when he wrote La Donna del Lago. Indeed, among his late Italian operas, this one holds particular strengths in its innovative, Mozartean use of orchestral textures and its story adapted from a tale by Sir Walter Scott. Scott's writing has been used for a number of tragic operas. (Lucia di Lammermoor is the most famous.) Unusually, La Donna del Lago ends on an "up" note for a bel canto opera, with reconciliation triumphant over tragedy.

This production stars opera superstar Joyce DiDonato, a singer whose effervescent turn in the title role was one of the highlights of the previous Met season. Opposite her is American tenor Lawrence Brownlee in the key role of Uberto, the disguised King James V of Scotland. The high-flying cast also includes tenor John Osborn. Michele Mariotti conducts.

La Donna del Lago returns Dec. 11.

Recording Recommendation:
SWR Radio Orchestra Kaiserslautern cond. Alberto Zedda
A cast of little-known singers (Sonia Ganassi, Maxim Mironov, Marianna Pizzolato, Ferdinand von Bothmer) came together for this cheap-o Naxos recording which captures the magic and romance of Rossini's score, under the energetic baton of Alberto Zedda.

Tickets for La Donna del Lago are available at MetOpera.Org, by calling (212) 362-6000, or at the box office.

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