Levine Is Back At The Met & I Was There!

After an opening night in which there was as much drama in the audience as on the stage, the Metropolitan Opera on Tuesday saw the fireworks return to the artists completely. The opera was Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte,” and the news was return of beloved music director James Levine (pictured) to the pit after a long recovery from various injuries. The audience cheered loudly for him as he rose to his position. He sat in a motorized wheelchair and used a series of lifts and ramps installed by Met technicians to clear his path to a rising mechanical podium, called the “maestro lift,” that he conducted from. He was not confined by this at all. From the opening beat, he brought a briskness to the score that was bracing. (I can’t stand conductors who bring endless legato to Mozart operas.) The cast was a first-rate ensemble that included Matthew Polenzani as Ferrando, Rodion Pogossov as Guglielmo, Danielle de Niese as Despina, Isabel Leonard as Dorabella, and Susanna Phillips as Fiordiligi. The women were in especially fine voice, especially Phillips. Her vocal line was sometimes abbreviated, but everything else was squarely in place. The dark hues of her instrument were especially haunting. I’m sorry I missed her Donna Anna at the Met and hope I have a chance to see it at some point.

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