Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Tenor Salvatore Licitra takes on both "Cav" and "Pag" at Met

Tenor Salvatore Licitra takes on both "Cav" and "Pag" at Met

Give Salvatore Licitra extra credit _ but only a mixed verdict _ for taking on double duty at the Metropolitan Opera.
The Sicilian tenor, who shot to fame subbing for Luciano Pavarotti at the house nearly five years ago, filled in for an ailing colleague again Friday night as the doomed lover Turiddu in Mascagni's one-act verismo classic "Cavalleria Rusticana."
After intermission, Licitra returned for his scheduled assignment as the homicidally jealous clown Canio in the other half of opera's most popular twin bill, Leoncavallo's "I Pagliacci."
Licitra has a potent tenor voice with ringing high notes, a strong lower register, and considerable stamina. What he's lacked at times in previous appearances has been the ability to adjust his coloring and dynamics to suit the moment.
But his Canio was superb. He shaped the famous "Vesti la giubba" with nuance and beautiful tone, and brought frightening intensity to the climactic murder scene. Though he'll never be the most graceful stage actor, his restrained performance was surprisingly gripping. Clearly his studies with the great, now-retired soprano Mirella Freni have been paying off and, at age 38, he has time to become even better.
Licitra's wasn't the only performance to admire in "Pagliacci." As his unfaithful wife Nedda, Bulgarian soprano Krassimira Stoyanova showed why she is a fast-rising star, with a lovely voice that shows no strain or wobbly vibrato even at high C.
"Cavalleria," by contrast, was lackluster, and Licitra's Turiddu definitely a work in progress. It was in fact the first time he had sung the role of the swaggering two-timer in a staged performance, as a last-minute substitute for Frank Porretta, who was to have made his Met debut.
The lack of preparation showed both in numerous glances toward the prompter's box and in his uneven singing. But he did pull it together for an impassioned final aria, "Mama, quel vino," his farewell to his mother just before rushing off to meet his death in a knife fight.
Mezzo Dolora Zajick was not at her best as the jilted heroine Santuzza, and baritone Mark Delavan sounded a bit woolly as the jealous husband, Alfio.
Marco Armiliato conducted the orchestra in this revival of Franco Zeffirelli's realistic production, which holds up remarkably well after 37 years.
This was only the sixth time a tenor has performed both "Cav" and "Pag," at the same Met performance. Licitra said Peter Gelb, the company's general manager, had called him a day earlier and asked if he would like to sing Turiddu in place of the scheduled cover, Eduardo Villa.
"This is a kind of examination for myself," Licitra told the AP after the performance. "It doesn't happen often that the same tenor sings two big and heavy roles like that."
Licitra's Met debut came in May 2002, when Pavarotti canceled what were to have been his farewell appearances in Puccini's "Tosca." Pavarotti returned two seasons later to give his final performances in the same role.
___
Associated Press Writer Ron Blum contributed to this report.
___
http://www.metopera.org


Updated : 2021-07-30 18:01 GMT+08:00