Grigolo as the hopelessly fascinated des Grieux. At age 38, he moves on stage with the feverish energy of a boy half his age, and his pop star handsomeness somehow makes the tragic story all the more poignant.
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It seems like a crying shame to wreck something so radiantly lovely. His angry entrance in the gambling scene thundered like the curse of an Old Testament God. In a score that tends to meander, conductor Emmanuel Villaume kept the rhythms tight and emphasized the darker, more tragic colors of the orchestration. When this production by Laurent Pelly first played the Met in , it came in for a good deal of criticism not only for shifting the action from the original 18th century to circa , but for its flimsy, dollhouse-like sets.
This time around, though, the concept seemed suddenly to come into focus: so immature and self-centered were these lovers that it seemed only fitting they should inhabit a world constructed of pasteboard. The negative side of so magnificent a performance is that it reminds you that most nights at the Met—in any theater, really—verge on the mediocre.
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So it was with a revival of Lucia di Lammermoor on March The potential luster of this performance was dimmed by the compromised vocals of Joseph Calleja as the ardent Scottish knight Edgardo di Ravenswood. An announcement before the performance indicated he was suffering the lingering effects of flu, and indeed in the first act his shimmering lyric tenor sounded cloudy and fragile. And yet Mr. Calleja gave the most satisfying vocal performance of the night, phrasing with a noble legato and declaiming the text with poetic imagination.
Opposite him, soprano Albina Shagimuratova should have made the perfect partner as the doomed Lucia: their voices share a fluttery, silvery quality reminiscent of the bel canto singers of a century ago. But her singing, though impressively accurate, sounded square and prosaic, and her stolid stage presence suggested more a prosperous widow than a high-strung maiden who descends into madness. That said, casting Ms.
Damrau and Mr. Grigolo in this opera could well jump-start it back into vivid life. Bored with predictable husband and pampered lifestyle, Fee is determined to sample life and lust on the wild side of town.
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