Original Air Date: 02/03/2007
Rizzi; Gallardo-Domâs, Giordani, Arteta, Croft, Relyea, Plishka

[Tommasini NYTimes 1/26/2007]…It was as Rodolfo that Mr. Giordani made his 1995 Met debut, and it is always rewarding to hear the role sung by a true Puccini tenor. Still, he has been branching out in recent years into weightier repertory, like Verdi’s Manrico and, at the Met, the hefty title role of Berlioz’s “Benvenuto Cellini.” While such choices testify to his adventurousness, they may explain why his Rodolfo seemed to have lost some of the velvety grace and glowing richness of earlier years. At times he ended melodic phrases abruptly and halted in his delivery. At his best Mr. Giordani can certainly invest a Puccini phrase with vibrant sound and soaring lyricism.

Ms. Gallardo-Domâs may not have a conventionally beautiful sound, and soft high singing does not come naturally to her. The earthy expressivity and subtle intensity of her singing, however, made her an affecting Mimi.

There were strong performances from the hearty baritone Dwayne Croft, a veteran Marcello; the bright-voiced soprano Ainhoa Arteta as Musetta; and the robust young baritone Aaron St. Clair Nicholson as Schaunard, the role of his Met debut last fall. The most complete vocal and dramatic portrayal came from the charismatic bass-baritone John Relyea as Colline. The bass Paul Plishka did double-duty as the hapless landlord Benoit and the wealthy Alcindoro. Carlo Rizzi was the very capable conductor.

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