(Joyce DiDonato as Elena in Rossini’s “La Donna del Lago.” Photo: Marty Sohl/ Metropolitan Opera)
In the early 1990s, rock music had a trend, where big time performers would strip down there music and play their hits acoustically.
This became known as being “unplugged” and many enjoy listening to their favorite songs in very different ways.
For the Met, La Donna del Lago (“The Lady of the Lake”) may be the “unplugged” opera on their schedule. Although the set design is nice, the performance is devoid of the glitz of say an Aida and relies upon the strength of the singing voices of the players.
Needless to say, the production soars on that level.
The 3-hour and 10-minute performance of Gioachino Rossini’s 1819 opera had its Met premiere last season in February and was revived this December and now part of its repository.
The classic story, based on Sir Walter Scott’s 18th century poem, revolves around Scottish beauty Elena, who has three men vying for her affections. First there’s Rodrigo, the head of the Highlander clan, who has been promised her hand by her father. Elena, on the other hand, wants to mary young Malcolm. And finally there’s Giacomo V (King James V), who falls in love with her after Elena helps him when she thinks the king is a hunter named Uberto.
As Elena, Joyce DiDonato shows off her mezzo-soprano voice and carries the performance from the opening curtain to the final bow. She is what makes this opera worthwhile and a must see.
She is accompanied by Lawrence Brownlee, who plays the king. The chemistry between his tenor voice and DiDonato is breathtaking and keeps your attention when they are on stage together. John Osborn plays Rodrigo and his main part at the end of the first act caps off the story as it goes into intermission.
Daniela Barcellona’s mezzo-soprano voice backs young Malcolm, and provides a nice contrast to Elena’s other suitors, while Oren Gradus rounds out the main cast as Elena’s father, who just wants the best for his daughter.
The Rossini comedy is conducted with precision by Michele Mariotti and the naturalistic sets by Kevin Knight stay close to the original production.
This production runs through December 26th. Tickets begin at $25; for prices, more information, or to place an order, please call (212) 362-6000 or visit www.metopera.org. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling (212) 341-5410 or visiting www.metopera.org/groups.
Same-day $25 rush tickets for all performances of La Donna del Lago are available on a first-come, first-served basis on the Met’s Web site. Tickets will go on sale for performances Monday-Friday at noon, matinees four hours before curtain, and Saturday evenings at 2pm. To enter, click here.