Thursday, April 24, 2008

Encore! Encore! No really, encore!

Solo encores have fallen out of favor in the opera. Fairly common in the 19th century, the practice fell out favor when opera became more “serious.”

Buzz killer.

The Met has explicitly banned solo encores for much of the 20th century. In fact, the only one that has been documented was in 1994 (but we’ll get to that in a moment).

14 years later, history was made at the Met when Juan Diego Florez performed a solo encore of the challenging tenor aria “Ah! Mes Amis.” Filled with high C’s this “tenor tester” brought the house to its knees and provided a thrilling moment for all opera lovers. The challenging role is said to launch tenor’s careers at the Met and is credited as being the “star-making” role of Luciano Pavarotti (but we’ll get to that in a moment).

Juan Diego Florez currently stars with Natalie Dessay in a new production of Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment. Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, has said that there would be no encore ban on his watch, to make opera “as entertaining and exciting for the audience as it can be.”


So back to that 1994 solo encore – any guesses? It was Luciano Pavarotti, singing the second-act tenor aria in Tosca.

If you can name the aria – I have two tickets for you to the Friday night or Sunday matinee performance of Opera Tampa’s Tosca.

-Kari G.



Liva said...

Luciano Pavarotti sang "E Lucevan Le Stelle", beautiful performance, I remember that.

Flying Squirrel said...

Liva - your profile says you live in Latvia - but if you're in town - you have tickets!