26 October 2007

So far so good

[9:03PM] Lucia, first intermission. A thousand miles away, I'm listening via Sirius satellite. Young Stephen Costello, already an established success as Arturo, sounds divine in the primo role, so far. A joy to hear a pure lyric sing Edgardo. Marcello Giordani did something intense with the role, but he has substantial spinto in his voice to destabilize bel canto's easy flow. Costello, on the other hand, is pure sweetness. I look forward to the rest of the evening, and greatly regret that my schedule pulled me far away from this sparkle of the Met fall season. (Meanwhile, Roberto Alagna, the intermission guest and my hubby-in-waiting, is pumping out vats of charm.)

REPORTS FROM THE MORNING AFTER: Even from the broadcast, I sensed some signs of stress and tightness in Wolf's Crag, due in large part to Levine's penchant for thick, late-romantic sonority, as well as his duelling partner Marcus Kwiecien's trombone of a voice. But he finished the evening with a nicely spun final scene, graceful and sensitive, multitextured and rightly nuanced.

Reports from more credible witnesses are trickling in [parterre, opera-l 1, 2]. Costello is not rating as well in those qualities that are impossible to judge over the airwaves, those having to do with space presence and dimension such as vocal weight, ping, and projection. Much like Massis, who I thought, from last week's performance, would have done better in a smaller house and with a more sympathetic bel cantist at the podium. It's adding up to a work in progress: his weak points could certainly be overcome by experience and smart choices, but the graceful beauty of the voice, that elusive mystical property of singing, appears to be an authentic presence. A promising beginning to a fine career.