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I concur. I only objected somewhat to the monkey waving his arms in the orchestra pit. But everyone on the stage was ON this afternoon; it was one of those performances. LE NOZZE is my favorite opera and "Deh vieni" is perhaps my favorite aria. Lisette sang it to perfection. Her performance had it all: warmth, charm, sweetness and spunkiness (is that a word?) Schrott was a marvelous Figaro, singing beautifully and physically he's something of a stage animal. You just never knew what he was going to do next (in a good way.) He and Lisette have wonderful chemistry on stage. I've been somewhat weary of Hong over the last few years, but this afternoon she did nothing wrong. (Except falling behind everyone else on one occasion in the finale ensabmle, but that happens.) Her singing was glorious and she showed us a Countess who isn't just a long-suffering mope. This Rosina can scheme with the best of them, which we sometimes forget she did back in the day before she married the Count! Pertusi huffed and puffed (not literally) very well indeed. And Vondung was a very sexy and hormonally fidgeting Cherubino. The smaller roles were all very well taken.

The staging has changed quite a bit from the time when this wonderful production was new. Jonathan Miller might have been a prick to work with, but his vision of the piece was golden. I recall that one of the biggest laughs back in the day came in Act 4 when Susanna-as-Countess tells Figaro, as the Count looks on, "Do with me what you will" as she lies down on the ground ready for...ahem, action. I rather missed that little touch of baffonery this time around.

One thing I wondered about as I listened was: why don't singers at the Met ornament in Mozart? I think I've heard that Levine objects to ornamentation, which is absurd if true. Historically singers most certainly did ornament their arias and I'd love to hear this happen more. Marc Minkowski's recording of the opera is one of my favorites. His cast isn't the greatest, but every aria is ornamented and the results are so refreshing. (Claudio Abbado's set also has some ornamenting, but Minkowski's takes the cake.)


I agree that Mozart should be moderately embellished; isn't it generally the conductor who decides? Hei-Kyung did a couple of subtle decorations in 'Dove sono'...back in the 1970s Johanna Meier sang a superbly embellished version of that aria at NYCO; after the performance I asked her about her ornamentations and she said she and Christopher Keene wrote them out together. However, it was the only instance of embellishment in that production and the rest of the cast sang the music 'straight'.

In the Beaumarchais plays, don't the events in NOZZE follow those of BARBIERE by about three years? Wouldn't the Contessa be between 18-21 years old and Susanna most likely around 15? I need to do some Beaumarchais research.

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