“Figaro”: Not a Happy Marriage


I’m sure the Swiss conductor Philippe Jordan, recently appointed music director of the Paris National Opera, has sound orchestra-leading skills under the right circumstances, but last night, at a performance of Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” at the Metropolitan Opera, he presided over an orchestra that sounded spotty, lacked color, and, worst of all, failed to serve the singers, who were, it must be said, having troubles unrelated to what was going on in the pit. The Act II finale, arguably the greatest small-ensemble piece in the history of opera, began at a glacially slow pace from which it never recovered. Ekaterina Siurina’s Susanna, Simon Keenlyside‘s Count, and Bryn Terfel‘s Figaro (the three are pictured here), plus Anja Harteros’s Countess, didn’t quite combust. The last time I’d seen “Figaro” at the Met had been in November, 1998, when Terfel, Renee Fleming, and Cecilia Bartoli (absent too long these shores) had, in the same scene, blown the roof off the place. Thank God for YouTube, which has these three singers, plus Dwayne Croft, in the second-act finale from the same Jonathan Miller production at the Met. With James Levine (aka: Nurse!) maintaining a beautiful, brisk tempo.

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