||[Apr. 19th, 2018|01:41 am]
Verdi’s Luisa Miller returned this season for the first time in quite a while, featuring superb-to-spectacular singing from the whole cast. The main attraction of the revival is Plácido Domingo as Luisa’s father. Miller is, however, a baritone role, so this was no attraction at all. Thankfully, there was one performance with an actual baritone, and a good one, Luca Salsi, who was very impressive in Il Trovatore a few months ago. He was equally good here, and I’m glad to have seen it with the proper balance of voices—Domingo can sing the notes, and from all reports has been giving an outstanding performance of the character, but he’s still no baritone.
The production is of the hyper-picturesque variety. These are always impressive, with their massive, detailed chunks of each require location, but they do stretch things out and undercut the flow. The Met’s stage machinery is up to the job, but it still takes several minutes between scenes to swap out one packed stage wagon for another. (And yet, on the evidence of La Bohème and Die Meistersinger, we know these huge changes can be done in a comparative flash when necessary: each of those gets about 90 seconds.) The plot is right out of the handbook of standard opera plots: intersecting love triangles, parental interference, imprisonment, sacrifice and ultimately poison (with a side of stabbing). Verdi’s always good for dressing those up, and this one’s no exception. With music and singing this good, a hoary old plot doesn’t get in the way. (And, as tangled as it is, it’s still simpler than a lot of others.) one performance left, though with Domingo; I won’t say don’t go, just buyer beware.