Yesterday I went to see a convoluted story about French revolutionaries, as belted out at top volume to serviceable but hardly creative ballads. No, I didn’t go to the Les misérables movie. I went to see Roberto Alagna in Opera Orchestra of New York’s concert presentation of Umberto Giordano’s Andrea Chénier.
Read the rest here. This was bad, people. Roberto Alagna had barely learned the music, had no conception of the role, and seemed not quite present all afternoon. Alberto Veronesi is not a master conductor and didn't offer anything to make up for this deficit, nor was he probably the ideal choice to lead someone unsure through this rhythmically tricky music for the first time. Kristin Lewis had some issues and this role was a little more than her voice can handle right now, volume-wise--at least with Veronesi's insensitive conducting, in the unfriendly surroundings of Avery Fisher--but the sound is interesting, and I would like to give her another chance under happier circumstances. George Petean was the real pro here, and turned in a thoroughly decent performance, though not as scene-stealing as Rosalind Elias.
But a sad spectacle. I like Alagna (sometimes, it seems, inexplicably), the guy still has an attractive voice and considerable charm, but this was embarrassing for everyone. Maybe it's personal issues, maybe he just didn't take this gig seriously, but I hope this is just a temporary slip.
Photo copyright Stephanie Berger.