Last night the first, Nabucco, (delayed) live from the Royal Opera House in our local cinema. Only the third time I have seen it. This casting was terrific, with Liudmyla Monastyrska almost stealing the show with her chillingly acted, beautifully sung Abigaile. Her voice is built for the biggest Verdi soprano roles, I gather her Aida and Lady Macbeth were a knockout and she can act. I can’t wait to see her live. The only reason she didn’t walk off with the audience entirely was that Domingo was singing Nabucco.
I fell for Domingo way back when he took a production of Ballo and just turned it around by making ‘Amelia’ (Katia Ricciarelli) fall in love with him on stage as we listened and watched. I would have accepted him whispering the role of Nabucco, but he gave it everything, passionate, touching, strong and weak, in the third act there was a long sustained note held as the orchestra died away – there was not a quaver in his voice as he held it. EG said he had his heart in his mouth worrying about him remembering lines or sustaining quite so heavy a new role at his age, but I think such an old dog has enough know-how to cover any dicey moments.
The other lead voices were all beautifully balanced, and although I might have indented for a slighter Fenena, her voice and acting fitted the role perfectly. Perhaps the greatest feature of this production was the direction of the chorus. With all the cameras on them, there was never a moment when their concentration faltered. They were in role from start to finish. Va Pensiero was simply, yet passionately handled and the soft fade at the end was the sweetest I have ever heard. It was impossible to detect when the sound ceased.
I fear I could go on at even greater length, it must have worked more magic on me than I anticipated.