Verdi's 'Ernani'

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Saturday, April 04, 2015

A scene from Verdi's 'Ernani' A scene from Verdi's 'Ernani' (Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

Join us Saturday at 1 pm for a live broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera's staging of Ernani, featuring soprano Angela Meade, tenor Francesco Meli and baritone Luca Salsi.

Update: The Italian-born Salsi replaces Plácido Domingo, who has cancelled, citing illness. Salsi performed Ernani in Rome with conductor Riccardo Muti in 2013 and is scheduled to sing it again in Salzburg this summer.

Considered one of the most stirring works of Verdi's early years, Ernani was a triumph at its Venice world premiere in 1844. Audiences are invariably captivated by the infectious energy of the music, which requires four principals boasting magnificent vocal beauty and technical prowess.

The macho yet romantic nobleman, Don Juan de Aragon, disguised as the bandit Ernani (Meli) loves the young, nobly born Elvira (Meade). She returns his love, but must endure the attentions of both the King of Spain, Don Carlo (Salsi) and Don Ruy Gomez de Silva (bass Dimitry Belosselskiy), her aged uncle who hopes to marry her himself.

Silva's protection of Ernani from the angry king's pursuits results in Ernani owing the old man a terrible debt, which precipitates the opera's tragic dénouement.

Conductor: James Levine
Elvira: Angela Meade
Ernani: Francesco Meli
Don Carlo: Luca Salsi
Don Ruy Gomez de Silva: Dimitry Belosselskiy

Comments [13]

CastaDiva from New York, NY

Of all the early Verdi operas, this is my preferred one, for its gorgeous score. In this performance, the Met orchestra and chorus are the best thing about it. The tenor started out unpromisingly, with a dry, raspy sound, but improved considerably in the course of the performance. I like Meade's voice very much, but she is best in the works of Rossini and Handel, where she can give full vent to her incredible dexterity for coloratura and fioritura. I have heard her twice before in the House as Elvira, and desisted from going to hear her again. Her voice is not suited for this role, which requires a round, full bodied voice, with color. Salsi, the baritone, is better in this than he was in Lucia this season. Of the quartet, the basso Belosselskiy, is the most impressive---dark, and-rich toned.

But this opera requires all four principals to be well cast for it to take off, and that, sadly, does not happen with this cast.

Apr. 04 2015 03:37 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

I have a headache from trying to follow the plot of this opera.

Apr. 04 2015 03:37 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

QXR broadcast Mr. Domingo singing an aria from this opera this morning, believe it was this opera, and he did not sound too good. Not all baritone roles are suited for his voice. He recently sang the role of Macbeth in Europe. Do not think he will do better than Nucci or Lucic in this one.

Apr. 04 2015 03:35 PM
Madison from Manhattan

The costuming looks absurd. No one is wearing a tuxedo. How am I supposed to know who is in charge? The way everybody is dressed one would think the story takes place in the 16th century.

Apr. 04 2015 12:20 PM
Howard from Florida

Re the correct starting time: I checked the Met website and the starting time is 1 PM Eastern Time as it says on the WQXR homepage, but this page erroneously has 12 PM as the starting time. Let's not miss any of it!

Apr. 04 2015 09:59 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

CBC: Yes, Cavelleria certainly would have more sense today.
Do not know this opera that much other than the soprano aria Ernani Involami.
Auguri e tante belle cose.

Apr. 04 2015 09:56 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

ERNANI is one treasure of an opera. I am looking forward to hearing what ANGELA MEADE does with the role of ELVIRA. One of my voice teachers FRIEDA HEMPEL sang that role opposite CARUSO and it remained one of her signature roles. As much as I admire DOMINGO, I believe his voice does not have the color of timbre nor the heft when he undertakes the baritone roles. JAMES LEVINE is a modern day phenomenon with his mastery of such a wide range of styles. FAUSTO CLEVA with whom I coached told me that LEVINE who had studied conducting with him had recognized at that time that LEVINE had "the goods" to become a top maestro. For those who might be interested in what my singing voice, a Wagnerian heldentenor, sounds like, go to my website and download, free,at Recorded Selections, 37 out of the 100 selections, as they were performed live and unretouched, in 4 three-hour long solo concerts in the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium of CARNEGIE HALL. My Ten Language solo debut and my two ALL WAGNER concerts in the same main hall of Carnegie Hall can also be downloaded free at the website.

Apr. 04 2015 09:48 AM

CBC BUONNA PASQUE A TUTTI & Happy Passover to our Jewish friends. Don't you think mamma Met should have presented Cav/Pag today? It would have made a lot more sense than today's opera.

Apr. 04 2015 09:33 AM

@ Les: "... de rigeur in 16th Century Spain."

DD: All the more reason to avoid updating!

Apr. 04 2015 09:31 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

I'll correct myself. The story's a love quadrangle (if I'm not coining a phrase) not a triangle as I previously wrote. The whole plot de'noument revolves around the code of honor, while if it's hard to accept today, was certainly de rigeur in 16th Century Spain.

Apr. 04 2015 07:56 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

CBC: Hope you are well. Buona Pasqua
Looks like the production will not be one of the "upgrades" that usually make no sense.

Happy Easter and Passover to all.

Apr. 04 2015 07:20 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

Judging from the photos, the audience in the opera house will have the pleasure of seeing what looks to be an accurate representation of 16th Century Spain costumes and sets. This opera always delights me in its melodiousness yet carefully drawn distinction between the characters in the love triangle. Like "Il Trovatore" that was years ahead, Verdi names each act which he calls parts "The Bandit", "The Guest", "The Clemency" and "The Mask". The resemblance of the opening chorus and galop for "The Guest" always reminds me of the offstage band music that opens Act I. of "Rigoletto", again, years ahead. I envy those hearing "Ernani" for the first time. Here's looking forward to solidarity and security from the orchestra and mesmerizing performances from the young Elvira and Ernani.

Apr. 04 2015 06:59 AM
Sanford Rothenberg from Brooklyn

"Ernani" was the first of ten libretti written by Piave for Verdi,a collaboration which included such popular works as"Rigoletto","Traviata",and "Forza".The current production features Placido Domingo in the baritone role of Don Carlo,a development reviewed unfavorably by Tommasini in the Times,and by operagoers,who have expressed a preference for Lucic,Hvorostovsky,or Hampson in that role.

Apr. 04 2015 01:14 AM

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