MET Opera: Luisa Miller

METLuisaMiller527  Met Opera

In Italian with subtitles

Plácido Domingo adds yet another role to his legendary Met career in this rarely performed Verdi gem, a heart-wrenching tragedy of fatherly love.

Luisa Miller represents a transitional moment in Giuseppe Verdi’s unparalleled career. While reminiscent of the youthful vitality that had made Verdi an international sensation, the opera also looks forward to the dramaturgical discipline and sophistication of the composer’s middle period. The story centres on the bond between a father and his daughter as they stand together against a hostile world, and much of the dramatic and psychological acumen that would define the mature Verdi is already fully apparent in this earlier work. It is an opera very much like its title character—one that impresses with genuine virtues rather than superficial flashiness.

The opera was originally set during the first half of the 17th century in the Tyrolean Alps (now part of Austria), which reflects the Germanic source of the drama. The non-Mediterranean setting is also typical of an interest in Northern Europe that was a hallmark of the Romantics and other artists of the early 19th century. The Met’s current production updates the setting to rural England in the era of the work’s composition.

As the opera represents a pivotal moment in Verdi’s career, so the score itself has aspects of both the rough vitality of his early works and the refinement of his middle career. Passionate melody is on full display throughout the score, nowhere more than in the tenor’s ravishing Act II aria Quando le sere al placido. The rare duet for two basses in Act II reflects the preponderance of lower voices found throughout the score, and it is against these dark sounds that the high tessitura of Luisa’s soprano takes on an additional feel of lightness and purity. Her impassioned Tu puniscimi, O Signore, filled with pianissimo high Cs, is a choice example of her music expressing the luminescence of her character.

USA 2018, 220 min
(includes two 30 min intermissions)
Live performance opera
Conductor: Bertrand de Billy
Vocal cast: Plácido Domingo, Sonya Yoncheva, Olesya Petrova, Luca Salsi & Piotr Beczala

The Metropolitan Opera changed the face of theatergoing nearly a decade ago with high-definition simulcasts in movie theaters using a technology associated more with rock concerts and boxing matches than opera. We are very lucky at Arthur’s to be able to offer this sensational bit of culture, art and entertainment to you.

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