* Notes *
A revival of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito (Act II pictured left, photograph by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera) opened at the Metropolitan Opera a fortnight ago. Last Saturday I found myself in Family Circle Standing Room for the matinée performance, which was also broadcast live in HD. The cast included those with considerable talent, not least of which was mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča, who sang the role of Sesto. Garanča's voice is pleasantly light and pretty, but well-supported.
Barbara Frittoli made for a comical Vitellia, her voice is somewhat shrill, but not inappropriate for the part, and kept her distinct from the other soprano. Kate Lindsey sang Annio with grace. Lucy Crowe sounded brilliant and sweet as Servilia. Only Giuseppe Filianoti (Tito) disappointed, he sounded a little raveled, and his notes were not precise. That said, the resonances of his voice had warmth, and he seemed less apt to crack than in other recent appearances.
The orchestra played somewhat ponderously under Harry Bicket, who kept time metronomically. The music is quite beautiful and does seem difficult. Bicket never overwhelmed the singers and seemed respectful of the score. The chorus was luminous and together.
Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's 1984 production is functional but still very descriptive. The set is elaborate, but the scene changes are made easily and do not create much noise.
* Tattling *
During Act II, a cellular phone rang when Vitellia confessed her involvement in the plot against Tito.