Original Air Date: 12/11/2004
Chaslin; Radvanovsky, Casanova, Nucci, Ramey
MOD Audio SID.19060637
Elena was a major breakout role for Radvanovsky, and she was the deserved star of this revival. Nucci, who has appeared irregularly but continuously since his debut in 1980 last appeared at the Met in this 2004 broadcast where he is in fine voice as he was on the Nabucco broadcast six months earlier (prior season). His current engagements show him as busy as any Verdi baritone before the public with an appearance in January 2016 at La Scala as Rigoletto with Nadine Sierra, where they encored the Si, vendetta duet (!!!!). Casanova has good style in arguably Verdi’s most challenging tenor part. This revival catches Ramey after the wobble had started to set in (I date at around 2002). He’s still very commanding, but it’s just a bit too late to be top quality. Procida is one of the greatest of Verdi bass roles right up there with Fiesco, if not quite at the level of Filippo II. Chaslin conducts a well prepared performance, and so nice to have this performance in the Sirius rotation. With Radvanovsky’s new status, this performance should be added to MOoD. This is true two years ago, and is still the case.6/26/2012 – Ramey is a bit too late for Procida here, but Chaslin’s conducting and the other three principals are very good . Vespri is hard to sing, and never overwhelms me like Don Carlo, Ballo, Simon, or Forza, but there are still some Verdian moments to enjoy. The only competitive Met broadcast. 9/28/11 – Vespri has some great music but I find it the weakest of any of Verdi’s post Rigoletto operas. This revival was the big showcase for Radvanovsky who regularly featured some of the biggest E naturals ever heard at the Met (at the end of th e Bolero). Nucci still had surprising sap left, but 2 or 3 years too late for Ramey, and Casanova will be ok on the radio, but he did not have an ideal stage appearance. 2/8/11 – It’s not Don Carlo or Simon Boccanegra, but one of the first exposures of major league Radvanovsky. Not quite enough panache for the dramatic sections, but some stirring singing. Casanova better heard than seen, and Nucci in fine shape, esp. for his age.Just a little too late for Ramey. Much better at Scala under Muti.

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