Sep 28, 2007

Lucia Dessay, MET opening night

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Extrait YouTube de cette première ici (audio seul); extrait vidéo de la scène de la folie ; autre extrait video avec l'harmonica de verre (dress rehearsal).

Reviews about the MET's prima of Lucia di Lamermoor, Sept.24, 2007, starring Natalie Dessay as Lucia:

Renaud Machart, Le Monde du 27 septembre 2007;


Au premier acte, il s'est passé un incident amusant. Natalie Dessay est tombée sur le derrière, s'est mise à sourire, à rire un peu, a continué de chanter en inventant de chic et avec intelligence une manière de se tirer de ce faux pas, à laquelle sa partenaire, Michaela Martens, s'est associée de bon coeur et avec à-propos. On a vraiment cru que Mary Zimmerman, la metteuse en scène de cette Lucia, qui faisait ses débuts à l'opéra, lui avait demandé cette péripétie. Aux saluts, Dessay, aussi bonne comédienne que tragédienne, a fait semblant de glisser, faisant à nouveau rire le public, qui lui a adressé une ovation prolongée à chacune de ses interventions.

Lucia di Lammermoor, c'est surtout son troisième acte et sa fameuse "scène de la folie", qu'il faudrait être fou pour manquer, en effet. Là, Dessay dépasse tout le monde par la force hallucinée de son incarnation, qui ne semble pas jouée, vraie parce que simple. Elle n'"agrippe" pas la folie, elle la laisse entrer en elle. Mais Dessay, qui aime se dire comédienne avant tout, n'est pas que jeu, c'est aussi un gosier agile, flexible, une musicienne exceptionnelle qui a su évoluer sagement des rôles à roulades vers des emplois plus dramatiques.

Mary Zimmerman fait partie des metteurs en scène de théâtre à qui l'opéra (ou plutôt le public d'opéra) semble faire peur. Alors qu'elle paraît plutôt appartenir à la frange avant-gardiste, elle a conçu un spectacle d'une grande banalité : chromos réalistes qui hésitent entre Walt Disney (on croit vraiment, lors des ébats arpégés de la harpe, à l'entrée de Lucia, que Bambi va venir gambader sur ce gazon bien vert) et la série télévisée Mystery pour la scène finale, avec des tombes de carton-pâte dignes de La Nuit des morts-vivants.

Si Peter Gelb veut renouer avec la tradition visuelle du "vieux" Met et l'associer à des productions par ailleurs plus inventives (ses projets n'en manquent pas), qu'il rappelle Franco Zeffirelli, qui, lui, au moins, à défaut de nourrir le cerveau, en jette plein la vue. Mary Zimmerman ne satisfait ni l'un ni l'autre. "

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Anthony Tommasini, NY Times, Sept.25:

" You never know what to expect from Ms. Dessay, one of the most intuitive and risk-taking singers before the public. (…)
But she sounded glorious on Monday. Her voice has an intriguing mix of qualities. She is essentially a light, lyric soprano with agile coloratura technique. Yet she supports her voice so solidly that her sound shimmers throughout the Met’s vast auditorium. There is that classic French, slightly cool color to her voice, though she brings her own kind of richness to the Italian repertory.

Though a powerful image, it proved a distraction to Ms. Dessay’s lustrous singing. Sometimes in opera the music alone is the drama, especially when performed as vibrantly as it was here.

In Ms. Dessay’s first scene Lucia breaks into an ecstatic cabaletta to sing of her heady love for Edgardo. Racing about the stage as she sang, Ms. Dessay, in midphrase, skidded on a floorboard and fell down. Born actress that she is, she just kept singing, shrugging her shoulders as if to say, “What are you going to do?,” then finished the aria in triumph. Her response was actually in character for a young woman all giddy in love.

The commanding bass John Relyea brought rare dignity to the often cardboard role of Raimondo, the chaplain who advises Enrico, causing no end of trouble. An appealing young tenor, Stephen Costello, had a solid Met debut as the well-meaning Arturo. "

Mike Silverman, AP, Sept.25:

" No amount of clever ideas, however, could compensate if the soprano in the title role were less than spectacular. That's where the diminutive Dessay comes in.
Met audiences have heard her previously in comic coloratura roles (Olympia in Tales of Hoffmann, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos) and two years ago as the tragic heroine of Romeo et Juliette.

Lucia gives her a chance to display all facets of her artistry at once, combining high notes and agility with a voice of mournful expressiveness and acting so spontaneous that every word seems to be coming from her lips as a fresh thought.
At this point in her career, the high D's and E-flats are no longer effortless, but she summons them when she needs to. What she's gained is a fuller sound in the lower register that rings out clearly in the large Met auditorium.

Her mad scene is riveting in part because she conveys frenzy mainly through looks and gestures that seem organically connected to her vocalism. Yes, she rolls down a couple of stairs and lets out one ferocious scream, but much of the time she stands still, plucking obsessively at her bloody bridal veil. "

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Blogs reviews:

Sieglinde’s Diaries

" Is it ok to say that everyone pretty much sucked in Acts I and II, but then redeemed themselves and their stellar careers in Act III?

Natalie Dessay has this mannerism that I don't get: a kind of pop-inspired portamento, sliding from note to note like she's the country songbird Anne Murray crooning a prairie ditty. I like a dash of staccato here and there, a more direct attack on some notes (especially above the staff). If I want to hear Celine Dion-type singing, I'd ... uhm, I guess I'd rather kill myself before that happens. (I wonder if French pop music in her teen years has something to do with this idiosyncrasy.)
She is an unparalleled Zerbinetta, but Zerbinetta sensibility leaves arias like "Regnava nel silenzio" cold and displaced. These things, however, are quickly forgiven because everything about her voice works miraculously well in the Mad Scene.
Here, she is simply magnificent: sophisticated shading, total emotional investment in every phrase, technically competitive coloratura (though high-note-shy and somewhat trill-challenged), and skillful use of pianos and diminuendos. Her spellbinding scene more than washes away the ickiness of prior scenes. Dessay reestablishes her grip on the Lucia trophy, and Sieglinde's not raising any objection. (Though she might want to reconsider that wretched Klytamnestra scream that she unleashed just prior to the cabaletta. Whoever agreed with you that it was a good idea should be screamed off the staff and into the unemployment line.). "

Vilaine Fille

" “Soffriva nel pianto” was sublime—inward, heart-wrenchingly phrased, flickering and opalescent in its colors, and unforgivably slow. Overall, Dessay’s tone was bleached and anæmic, her passagework careless, and her highest notes glassy, frayed, and painful to hear. "

My favourite intermissions

" If you were listening to the broadcast and heard excessive audience response to Regnava/Quando rapito, which frankly were good but not star material, sort of Dessay set on "stun", it's because she took a dramatic tumble right in the middle and DIDN'T MISS A SINGLE NOTE. The thing she did miss, it must be said (now that other reviewers have reminded me of it) were the trills. They made an appearance later on, but in this act, I guess they were still in storage.

One had worried about Natalie Dessay. Reports of nodes. Questions about the workability of a shift into solid lyric terrain. If there's anything going wrong now, I can't tell you what it is. I used to find the color of her voice a little acrid when it hit the heights, but what she's doing now is working. The florid facility is still there, the acuti are neither clipped nor taut, and she's comfortable enough doing all of it that she can lend a wonderful improvisational flavor to her ornaments, if they are not in fact improvised, which I don't know. Several of them were certainly not standard. And she walks like she's losing her mind, and though the palette is still not as prodigious as that of the ever-looming Greek shadow, she is able to play a kind of more frenzied neurasthenia to such a pitch as to really impart that thing we hope for: a sense of risk. "

Night after night

" Natalie Dessay provided a bold, athletic and characterful presence, gamely enacting everything she was called upon her to do, and even righting herself after a scary tumble down the raked stage without missing a beat. (She had a chuckle about that during her final curtain call.) Dessay's singing was characteristically high-flying if not especially rich. But when you factored in her exceptional intelligence and agility, the result was a satisfying performance. "

Et pour terminer...
Si pour vous, l'opéra, c'est avant tout le paraître, les people et autres considérations frivoles, alors vous ne pouvez pas rater ça et ça.

No comments: