Damrau dazzles in debut as Violetta at Met
In this March 11, 2013 photo provided by the Metropolitan Opera Diana Damrau performs as Violetta with Placido Domingo as Giorgio Germont in a scene Verdi's "La Traviata" during a rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. (AP Photo/ Metropolitan Opera, Ken Howard)
NEW YORK (AP) — Two spontaneous eruptions from the audience just about said it all as the Metropolitan Opera revived Willy Decker's brilliantly stripped-down and de-romanticized production of Verdi's "La Traviata."
Placido Domingo, the 72-year-old tenor taking on yet another baritone role, was warmly applauded when he walked onstage Thursday night in his first appearance as Giorgio Germont, father of the young hero, Alfredo.
And when the opera was over and soprano Diana Damrau stepped forward to take a solo bow as the heroine, Violetta, many members of the near-capacity crowd leaped to their feet in one of the more heartfelt and sustained standing ovations in recent memory.
In this March 7, 2013 photo provided by the Metropolitan Opera Diana Damrau performs as Violetta in a scene from scene from Act I of Verdi's "La Traviata" during a rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. (AP Photo/ Metropolitan Opera, Ken Howard)
Damrau deserved every bit of it. Her singing from start to finish was nothing short of sensational, from the blazing coloratura pyrotechnics of "Sempre libera" to the lyrical pathos of "Addio del passato." Her bright, silvery voice rose above the ensembles with ease, and her soft singing was a model of restraint. Most of all, she made the touchstone role her own, with shadings and inflections that set her apart. One example was the way she responded to Alfredo's late plea that they leave Paris together so she could regain her health: "Parigi, o caro," she echoed, but her subdued, wistful tone told us she knew it was a vain hope.