Midori and Robert McDonald at Avery Fisher Hall
The New York Times, April 26, 2007
I seldom add remarks and enable comments when I post my Times reviews, but just this once I'll make an exception. Before a last-minute swerve found me at Avery Fisher Hall for the Midori recital -- which I didn't regret a bit, mind you -- I'd intended to catch the Metropolitan Opera's Giulio Cesare on Tuesday night with its new cast members: Lawrence Zazzo in the title role, Jill Grove as Cornelia and most especially Danielle de Niese as Cleopatra. (I'd also originally hoped to catch a performance by the first cast with David Daniels, Patricia Bardon and Ruth Ann Swenson in those roles, but settled for listening to last Saturday's Met broadcast through ear-buds while I traipsed around the Philadelphia Zoo.)
My interest in Tuesday night's performance mostly had to do with De Niese, whose gorgeous singing and sinuous, Bollywood-inspired dance moves in the recent Glyndebourne Guilio Cesare had so won me over on DVD. That production arrives at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in November (details here), and I'm very much hoping to make a trip to see it. So after the Midori concert, I headed over to the Met lobby, arriving just in time to watch De Niese deliver what appeared to be a show-stopping rendition of the Act II lament "Se pietà di me non senti" on one of those now-omnipresent flat-screen monitors.
What I heard might not have been quite so crushingly detailed as Magdalena Kožená's account in the Minkowski recording included in the playlist of the post that preceded this one. But even via a single-camera broadcast on a monitor in a lobby, this very nearly reduced me to tears. (Granted, Handel deserves at least some of the credit.)
So, to anyone who might have been in the house on Tuesday night: Was De Niese's performance as strong in person as it seemed on video?