And Marilyn Horne Was There!

brownleeIt’s been an opera-filled week. First, “Armida” at the Met, a Rossini work unfamiliar to me. It was an occasion to hear Lawrence Brownlee (pictured), a tenor best-known for Rossini, in full flower, opposite the Met’s house diva, Renee Fleming. A couple of nights later, I went to the opening of Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” at Juilliard Opera. This 1957 piece has been one of my favorites, ever since I heard it in the Met’s stunning John Dexter production. “Carmelites” is one of the three or four operas whose tonalities are so distinctive that you can’t mistake a single note of it for any other composer. The Juilliard production, simply and powerfully directed by Fabrizio Melano, was affectingly sung by a talented cast quickly making their way in the world. Uber-diva Marilyn Horne was in the audience, at least for the first act. The show’s assistant director, Edwin Cahill, told me that another former diva, that rara avis Teresa Stratas, had come to a dress rehearsal. She had planned to stay only for the first act but became so absorbed by the opera that she stayed until the end. That’s the way to be!

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