La Sonnambula, live cinema screening from the Metropolitan Opera, New York, March 2009

With Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez as the lovers Amina and Elvino, this promised to be a superb performance and it was. Their singing and their rapport with one another was a joy to behold, and with Jennifer Black singing beautifully as the jealous Lisa, and Michele Pertusi equally eloquent as Count Rodolfo, the whole thing went swimmingly, under excellent musical direction from Evelino Pido.

The production by Mary Zimmerman transposed the action into the modern world, but with a strange twist. It was all played as a rehearsal, with the setting for each scene written on a blackboard. The first sleepwalking scene, where Amina eventually reaches the Count’s room, started with her walking down one of the aisles in the audience. This worked well, and I liked the rehearsal aspect of the production. But what really counted was the orchestral playing and the singing, and this was as a good as it gets. Congratulations to the Met for another superb live cinema screening, with the intermission items well presented by Deborah Voigt.

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