Naomi Lewin, WQXR Host
Naomi Lewin is the weekend host on WQXR, and host of the weekly podcast Conducting Business.
Last night, I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Gioachino Rossini’s opera Le Comte Ory. Hard to believe that it premiered in 1828, and this is the first time it’s being done at the Met. Granted, there’s almost no plot, and what there is seems hopelessly politically incorrect. But then so are lots of opera plots, so how much does it matter when there's such delightful music involved?
If it the Met was waiting for just the right cast, then it was worth it. Juan Diego Florez, Diana Damrau, and Joyce DiDonato all excelled at the vocal fireworks and comic sensibilities required for the three major roles, and the secondary roles were just as brilliantly executed by Stéphane Degout, Michele Pertusi and debutante Susanne Resmark.
Of course, they all had high-flying coloratura arias to sing. But I was particularly enchanted with the ensembles, including numbers for both men's and women's chorus, plus an extended a cappella section for combined soloists and chorus, with no orchestra for several minutes! And Gaetano Donizetti must surely have had the Act I finale of Le Comte Ory running through his head when he wrote the trio "Tous les trois réunis” for his opera The Daughter of the Regiment.
With such lovely music, so beautifully sung, and costumes that look like Brueghel (if Brueghel had painted rich people), plus a delightfully inebriated male retinue all dressed like Sister Bertrille... all I can say is, get thee to this nunnery.