As Laura Adorno and La Gioconda respectively, mezzo-soprano Luciana D'Intino (above) and soprano Eva Urbanová duke it out aboard Enzo's ship, the Hecate, in this famous scene from Act II of Ponchielli's LA GIOCONDA. From one of my favorite Italian operas, this excerpt begins with Laura's prayer "Stella del marinar" and goes on to the fiery duet of the two rivals, "L'amo come il fulgor del creato!"
Above: Eva Urbanová...the Czech soprano has had a substantial operatic career, and also has a following as a pop and rock singer. She sang at The Met from 1998-2004 where I saw her striking debut performance as Ortrud and also had the good fortune to experience her only Met Tosca, a portrayal that was enhanced by her detailed characterization as well as some surprisingly nuanced singing.
Luciana D'Intino's Met career to date has consisted of two appearances each in the "big three" Verdi mezzo roles: Eboli, Amneris, and Azucena. I saw her in all three operas and her performances were astounding in their vocal richness and as marvelous examples of what is now the fast-fading authentic Verdi style.