The Metropolitan Opera (‘The Met’) opened their 2018-2019 Live in HD broadcast series with a performance of Guiseppe Verdi’s Aida. The production has been in their repertoire for a number of years now, but is still visually stunning, and was well sung.
The cast was led by Anna Netrebko (Aida), Aleksandrs Antonenko (Radamès), Anita Rachvelishvili (Amneris), Ryan Speedo Green (The Egyptian King), Quinn Kelsey (Amonasro), and Dmitry Belosselskiy (Ramfis). The Met’s Orchestra was led by Maestro Nicola Luisotti. The production was originally directed by Sonja Frisell, with Stephen Pickover acting as revival director. The sets were by Gianni Quaranta, with lighting by Gil Wechsler.
The production is lavish and takes us back to Ancient Egypt. It provides an excellent backdrop to the action and each scene takes place where the action calls for – Aida and Radamès die in a tomb, the temple scene takes place in a temple, etc.
The singing, for the most part, was amazing. Both Ms. Netrebko and Ms. Rachvelishvili (Aida and Amneris respectfully) put in a amazing performance. Ms. Netrebko’s Aida is torn between her love for Radamès and her love of her father and Ethiopia. She’s torn. Ms. Rachelishvili’s Amneris is in love with Radamès and was obviously upset when Radamès commits treason. She really does not him to be punished. Quinn Kelsey put in an excellent performance as Amonasro. He was out to get back at Egypt for what they had done in the past.
The only downside of the performance for me was Mr. Antonenko’ performance of Radamès. He was straining and barking through a good deal of the performance. This appears not to have been an issue of a ‘bad day’ as I have read reviews of other performances during the run that suggest he was having issues during other performances as well.
Maestro Luisotti led the Met’s Orchestra well overall. The tempi was right on – not too fast nor too slow in my opinion.
Overall, this was a worthwhile performance to attend. There are four scheduled encores in November. If you missed the Live broadcast, I would urge you to attend an encore performance.
On a side note, during the second intermission, Roberto Alagna (who was being interviewed on the upcoming Samson et Delilia broadcast) mentioned the passing of retired opera singer Montserrat Caballé. This was the only mention of her passing during the broadcast. Perhaps the broadcast could have been dedicated to her.
Here are a couple video clips from Youtube of this production: