Puccini TOSCA, Met 17.V.2006; c. Rizzi; Millo, Villa, Morris.
There will be talk about the seriously flat closing notes of "Vissi d'arte" and the skipped phrase in the closing duet of the third act-- but nothing can diminish the thrill felt by New York hungry for genuine, old-school extravagant style. Too exhausted to elaborate further, but anyone who's attended an Aprile Millo performance knows what that's all about. That said, here're some random nitpicks: (1) Allergies bandied about as a possible reason for her less-than-perfect outing. (2) Sang Act I Tosca like it was Act I Parsifal: slowed down the love duet to near Wilsonian pace, milked the soy out of every bar and arch. Maestro Rizzi, always the pushover, had little argument. (3) The vibrato/wobble on her forte top notes wider than usual, but even that had oodles of style. (4) Noticeably behind the beat during many mini-climaxes, took about a split second before submitting to many of Puccini's high notes. I didn't mind, really ... (but I'm fearing that it may be part of a larger issue of, uhm, diminished technique). (5) "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa" ad lib over Scarpia's dead body. (6) No one alive today can crescendo the "Egli vede ch'io piango!" with such truth and pathos. (7) Millo fans in astounding force; auditorium had that nice feel of celebration even before the curtain rose. (8) Flowers attended her visit with the freakline by the stage door. Victorious, she left the grounds in a grand limo:
[Not the truck, silly ... the black stretch limo on the left. Geez.]