Flip the coin and you’re in an ebullient world of color. The piazza in Italy is now post WWII. Roberto makes his effervescent entrance atop a travelling troupe’s truck amid a blast of confetti, in blue. The darkness remains in essence, ghosted from the Cav set, as a psychological pall over the piazza.
George in the meantime has fleshed out the nature of the scene in an inappropriate wig and suit that scream tacky but so work.
Moritz Junge did a raucous, ebullient set of costumes that reflected a post-war scrabble for travelling entertainers.
George, long known to Met audiences from ( among other roles) his brilliant Scarpia in Tosca must be foul. He betrays Nedda in his jealousy and carries the bitter end of this two-act opera to fruition.
Roberto is at his acting and singing apex as Canio. Adding to the electricity on stage is Aleksandra’s portrayal of Nedda.
Roberto as Canio is something we’ve been waiting for since the interruptus two years ago when he was pulled out of the role and saved the Met’s production of Manon Lescaut. His poignant delivery of one of the most famous arias in opera melts the soul and hammers the heart. The list is very long of all the iconic arias that Roberto has gifted us with and treasured by the entire lyric world. Vesti la Giubba strikes home, with a fervor only Roberto can grant.
For those of us not so hip on lyric terminology but immersed in the operatic for the intensity that comes with a mammoth stage, costumes that excite, voices that prolong the experience long after the last note dwindles on the airwaves and music that echoes through the ages, Pagliacci per Roberto et Cie. is a must see. Bravo, Mr. Gelb, Sir David, Roberto, Aleks, and George along with the euphonics of the Met orchestra and the ever-present talent of the chorus. Long may this clown live in our memories.
Cavalleria Rusticana, Pietro Mascagni
Pagliacci, Ruggiero Leoncavallo
Conductor, Nicola Luisotti