04 November 2022

This Don Carlo can fit in two CDs

Verdi DON CARLO, 03.11.22; c. Rizzi; Thomas, Buratto, Matochkina, Mattei, Groissböck, Relyea.

I’ve gone to many, many evenings at the Met and elsewhere in the past decade (and we’ll get to those as winter approaches), but why not reignite these Diaries with last night’s relentlessly bombastic Don Carlo, featuring Maestro Carlo Rizzi, who doesn’t think this opera should be any longer than a Puccini evening. First question—as the four-act Italian version of Don Carlo is already a dark and gloomy affair without the Fontainebleau preface, do we really need David McVicar to lead us down to another one of his recycled crypts? Meanwhile, the stars of the evening were the boys! Günther Groissböck as Filippo, dashing and unexpectedly sympathetic, and Peter Mattei as Posa, as bright and unblemished a best friend/secret lover as you’ll ever want in your Royal Court. John Relyea’s Il Grande Inquisitore is forever a thrill, his scene with Groissböck a satisfying belch after three pints of Guinness. Russell Thomas as Don Carlo was pushed to the degree you’d want, tortured and anguished till the end. But how about the girls? First time I’m hearing Eleonora Buratto: as Elisabetta, I detected fleeting shades of Barbara Frittoli, but her sound is much too accomplished and studied, therefore faceless. What Anna Netrebko would have done with this thankless role, we New Yorkers may never know. Yulia Matochkina kinda understood the assignment, but, sorry for being that old fart, couldn’t her Eboli be more perverse and worrying? Of course, subbing for Anita Rachvselishvili, so reeking of “golden age”, is one hopeless errand.