(Detailed impressions of the production and the performance of the 17th here.)
This time I had a slightly better seat, in that I was on the left side of the hall towards the middle rather than in the section behind and above the stage. The sound was different – the orchestra did not sound flipped around, but rather reached my ears as a really rich warm bloom of sound with a lot of detail.
I think it must have been sitting in an odd spot vis-a-vis the voices last time, too, because my reaction to Röschmann’s “porgi, amor” in Act II was not “that’s a weird reverb and the pitch is sharp” but rather a sort of slow melt into a little puddle of appreciative goo on the floor. There was something intense and truly beautiful (struggling for adjectives here – burnished? sweet-toned? it had both a weight and a beautiful gleam to it) about her voice in that aria that made me wonder if I had somehow been hit on the head before the performance last Friday and not noticed. Either way, it was fantastic. And the fantastic did not stop there. All of what I said last time was also applicable to this performance. In addition, “dove sono” was as gripping as the first aria, and there was something intense and wonderful about the letter duet that follows. It’s true what they say: Dorothea Röschmann is a hell of a countess. I’m not sure I’ll ever hear anyone else in this role with as much pleasure as I hear her.
And this performance was given an added ping by the fact that the supertitles stopped working in Act II. This did not bother me, but it did appear to pique one or two other people. The singers exaggerated their gestures a little to get the point across (and there was one interesting interpolation – when Cherubino, hidden in the closet, sneezed, thus revealing his presence, the countess responded with “Gesundheit!”) and no one really seemed concerned, especially after Dudamel paused after intermission, before Acts III-IV, to recap Act II and explain, very cheerfully, what had happened with the supertitles. (The supertitles returned without incident for Acts III and IV.) The effect of the fuckup seemed to be to lift the energy level and invest the audience even more in the drama than they had been before. I don’t recall ever attending a live performance of this opera that was as much fun as this one – particularly the supertitle-less “Susanna, or via sortite” section in Act II.
This is going to be a tough one to go home from. If you live in L.A. and you can get a ticket for Saturday, GO!