[Met Performance] CID:271710

Adriana Lecouvreur
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, February 21, 1983

Adriana Lecouvreur (49)
Francesco Cilea | Arturo Colautti
Adriana Lecouvreur
Renata Scotto

Plácido Domingo

Princess di Bouillon
Viorica Cortez

Mario Sereni

Ara Berberian

Andrea Velis

Louise Wohlafka

Isola Jones

Barbara Greene

Paul Franke

Andrij Dobriansky

Donald Peck

Ellen Rievman

Jean Anderson

Suzanne Laurence

Virgil Pearson-Smith

Marcus Bugler

Thomas Fulton

Review 1:

Leighton Kerner in the Village Voice

In contrast to such Wagnerian thrills, there was Francesco Cilea's “Adriana Lecouvreur,” that 1902 soap about the celebrated 18th century Comedie Francaise actress. The best thing I can find to say about the music is that, while not so effective as that of Giordano's “Andrea Chenier” (itself no masterpiece), it has at least more stickily lingering tunes than Puccini's “La rondine,” which somehow gains entrance into City Opera's repertory next summer. “Lecouvreur”'s popularity with certain sopranos probably has much to do with what Noel Coward once (in “Private Lives”) referred to as the potency of cheap music. Certainly the Arturo Colautti libretto, derived from Eugene Scribe (surprised?) and Ernest Legouve, is little more than a sentimental stew of illicit love, backstage hokum, and revenge-by-poison. And it's hardly mitigated by Cilea's flow of melodic goo. But the big news, at least for me, was Renate Scotto's evidence of vocal restoration in the title role. How she ever did it so shortly after a run of Verdi's “Macbeth” is beyond me, but her recently strident, squally soprano sounded rested, refreshed, and actually beautiful, with rich, gently dark colors below and a decently lyrical line on high. Yes, she-overacted and over-fussily phrased, but it was the finest-sung Adrian over the checkered 20-year life of this lavish but undistinguished production. Her Maurizio was sung and shrewdly acted by Placido Domingo, pouring out climactic phrases and striking a neat histrionic balance between ardor and deceit (necessary as the apex of a love triangle). Ara Berberian was a suave, menacing husband of the other woman, but the other major roles went for little. This was mostly the fault of the new director, Raf Vallone, that terrific actor of screen neorealism now perpetrating all sorts of fussy posings and interminable tableaux vivants.

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