Idiots at the Opera — La Traviata Supercharged

As posted previously when we went to see La Traviata at the Met back in March, there was an announcement just prior to the start that the tenor singing Alfredo, Saimir Pirgu was out with a bad cold and the role would be sung by Salvatore Coredelli.

While both Domingo and Damrau gave excellent performances, without a strong Alfredo, the balance was off, and I felt cheated. So, I made it back to the Met last night, and I’m glad I did. I I had a few seconds of doubt when Damrau staggered across the stage during the opening moments. She’s still not my physical ideal of the frail Violetta. Her first moments were a bit breathy, and I wondered if the performance schedule was taking its toll, but then it was magic. She seemed more relaxed in the role than on the previous outing, and once she met her Alfredo there was chemistry. It was lovely to watch the way Damrau and Pirgu played off of each other.

Pirgu at 32, looks young and sings young. He’s ideally suited for Alfredo. Not only is he well-matched to Damrau but to Domingo as well. Pirgu does not look like the young Domingo, but he does look like he could reasonably be his son, and he has a beautiful voice.

Domingo also seemed even better than when I saw him with the substitute. Again the word here is chemistry. All three performers are individually charismatic. Together they are explosive. Duets were amazing, and in the few scenes when all three worked together they were superb. There were moments I almost broke out in tears, and I left an emotional wreck — which is my idea of a good time at the opera.

The orchestra was like a fourth beautifully blended voice. While I know they did a live in HD performance of last year’s excellent production, it’s a shame they’re not also capturing this one. It’s one for the ages.

The final performance is this Saturday. It seems to be sold out, but it may be worth checking the box office for cancellations. If you don’t have a ticket, standing room can be purchased on Saturday morning. (Check the Met site for details. I wouldn’t recommend standing room unless you are desperate, for reasons I’ll elaborate in my next post.) There is little chance of finding anyone selling a ticket outside of the theater. Ticket broker sites may have pricey ones, but you might do better on Craig’s List – though I have no personal experience getting tickets through them, and rip-offs are possible. Before buying any ticket you should check the Met’s seating chart.

No good videos up, but here’s a clip of Damrau singing in a completely different production, most definitely NOT the Willy Decker production with the red drress: