Radvanovsky is the Medea of the 2020s in David McVicar’s visceral Met manufacturing – Seen and Heard Worldwide

United StatesUnited States Met: Stay in HD – Cherubini’s Medea: Soloists, Refrain and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, New York / Carlo Rizzi (conductor). Broadcast dwell (directed by Gary Halvorson) to the Barbican Cinema, London, 22.10.2022. (CC)

Sondra Radvanovsky as Medea © Marty Sohl/The Met Opera

Director and Set designs – David McVicar
Costumes – Doey Lüthi
Lighting – Paule Constable
Motion director – Jo Meredith
Projection designer – S. Katy Tucker

Medea – Sondra Radvanovsky
Glauce – Janai Brugger
Neris – Ekaterina Gubanova
Giasone – Matthew Polenzani
Creonte – Michele Pertusi

Sondra Radvanovsky has impressed audiences worldwide beforehand, however I ponder if this Medea on the Met – the opera’s first efficiency there – is her defining second regardless of her already being a worldwide star. One has to attend some time – fairly a protracted whereas – for Medea herself to make her mark however Cherubini permits his titular heroine a lot of the ultimate act to herself. Radvanovsky has large footwear to fill, in fact – one Maria Callas gave her personal defining performances within the Fifties. Radvanovsky is the Medea of the 2020s, although, supported by David McVicar’s visceral manufacturing. No scarcity of flames right here, or darkish environment – and a somewhat fascinating trompe l’oeil utilizing mirrors to offer extra-dimensional house to what we see – mightily spectacular within the cinema, for positive. A lady, mouth open, dominates the imagery, taking us again to Historical Greece, however Radvanovsky persuades us that these feelings are everlasting, and as a lot of the now as of archaic instances.

This was the Metropolitan Opera’s first opera of its 2022/23 season, and what a strategy to begin. Cherubini takes Euripides’s play by way of François-Benoir Hoffman’s libretto and forges a spectacular night of drama. The musical language sits between Classical and Romantic, Carlo Rizzi pitches the orchestral contribution completely, the Met Orchestra clearly loving each second.

The truth is, with Rizzi within the pit, this was a decidedly energised night, the Sinfonia to Act I filled with verve, exceptionally reproduced by way of the Barbican Cinema’s loudspeakers, to not point out the stormier moments.

There isn’t any doubt the plot of Medea is dramatic with Medea, the witch who within the last act murders her personal youngsters. It was in that last act the Radvanovsky completely shone. She is a soprano however with a developed decrease vary that works completely on this half. Her last scenes have been extremely gripping, the vocal and the dramatic as one. She appeared to personal the function, completely dwelling each second whereas exhibiting whole vocal management.

It’s uncommon to have a forged of this calibre in Medea, and the way it confirmed. Janai Brugger, who I’ve not heard ‘dwell’ earlier than, was a positive, agile Glauce; luxurious casting maybe for Michele Pertusi as Creonte (a fabulously agency bass), with Matthew Polenzani providing a powerful Giasone (not a pleasant man within the story), whereas Ekaterina Gubanova’s Neris supplied a ‘Solo un pianto’ (with its fantastically performed bassoon obbligato) that was markedly memorable.

It might be unconscionable to not point out the splendour of the Met’s refrain, a glory in and of itself and a significant a part of the motion.

David McVicar’s Medea on the Metropolitan Opera © Marty Sohl/The Met Opera

McVicar’s darkish manufacturing, fantastically lit by the seemingly omnipresent Paule Constable, fits Cherubini’s masterwork fantastically, whereas Rizzi’s impeccable conducting all through ensured the work cohered completely. Allow us to hope his manufacturing makes it to Covent Backyard, and allow us to hope that in that case, it’s Radvanovsky who takes the titular function. A corker of a night, and whereas the Barbican’s sound system behaved completely, one does surprise simply how unbelievable this could have been skilled dwell.

The Met: Stay in HD expertise was all in place with the acquainted interviews and backstage manoeuvrings, all there to create environment. A superb reminder of the stature of Cherubini’s masterpiece – and a testomony to the artistry of Sondra Radvanovsky.

Colin Clarke