Javier Camarena Gives Rare Encore at Metropolitan Opera

Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 09:00 AM

Javier Camarena delivers rare encore in 'La Centerentola' Javier Camarena delivers rare encore in 'La Centerentola' (Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

After the tenor Javier Camarena nailed multiple high Cs and even an interpolated high D in La Cenerentola at the Metropolitan Opera on Friday night, the audience cheered heartily. Camarena responded with something almost never heard on the Met stage: an encore.

The Mexican tenor was playing Don Ramiro in the second performance of a revival of the Rossini opera when the crowd responded with a prolonged ovation for his second act aria "Si, ritrovarla io giuro" (Yes, I swear I'll find her). The 38-year-old singer returned to the stage, and Fabio Luisi, the Met's principal conductor, repeated the aria.

According to the Met, Camarena is only the third singer in 70 years to perform an aria encore. Solo encores were routine in the 19th century but fell out of favor as performance practice grew more serious. At the Met they had been explicitly banned for much of the 20th century (in the 1920s, programs contained the phrase "POSITIVELY NO ENCORES ALLOWED").

Camarena was filling in for Juan-Diego Florez, who announced earlier this month that he would miss the first three performances of La Cenerentola due to illness. Florez himself broke the supposed encore ban twice: in Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment during four performances in 2008; and in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore in 2012. Before that, the only similar occasion in modern times had been Luciano Pavarotti's repeating a tenor aria in Tosca in 1994, Met officials said.

Luisi and Camarena had discussed the possibility of an encore before the performance, deciding it would be tied to the audience response.

The Met released a video of Camarena singing "Si, ritrovarla io giuro," which can be seen below.

With the Associated Press. Updated at 1 pm.

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Comments [4]

<Luisi and Camarena had discussed the possibility <of> an encore before the performance ... >
Proving my point.

DD~~

Apr. 26 2014 07:57 PM
Stephen from New York, NY

I was one of the audience members who jumped to his feet last night after Mr. Camarena's thrilling performance of “Si, ritrovarla io guiro.” I have been attending operas at the Met for 15 years; in all that time, no tenor has approached Javier Camarena in terms of the size and sweetness of his voice. To experience his voice in the house is to be overwhelmed by a tidal wave of gorgeous sound. It comes at you with the focus of a laser beam, but most unusually, it has a voluptuousness I've never heard in a tenore di grazia. Mr. Camarena dispatches the high Cs and Ds(!) with aplomb and holds them so long you begin to shake your head in disbelief. Your hair stands on end. Your hands, feet and spine begin to tingle. You realize that you are in the presence of a once in a generation singer.

Mr. Gelb, please find a way to bring Javier Camarena back next year! He's the singer we've all been waiting for!

Apr. 26 2014 12:58 PM
Amy from New York, NY

I was so lucky to have been there last night and to witness this historic event! It was INCREDIBLE!!! Javier's voice was absolutely beautiful, his expressiveness SUBLIME and he appeared to be having a great time!!! We're hoping he stays on to finish the run so others can see him in the HD performance in May. Luisi is my favorite conductor hands down!

Apr. 26 2014 11:41 AM
Suzanne from New York

"E lucevan le stelle," the aria Pavarotti encored in 1994, occurs in the THIRD act of Puccini's "Tosca."

Apr. 26 2014 10:52 AM

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