Review: A Tenor Reaches 18 High C’s at the Metropolitan Opera | Modern Society of USA

Review: A Tenor Reaches 18 High C’s at the Metropolitan Opera

Review: A Tenor Reaches 18 High C’s at the Metropolitan Opera

Javier Camarena has done it again.

Any tenor singing Tonio, the hero of Donizetti’s “La Fille du Régiment,” has to knock off a string of nine high C’s in the joyous aria “Ah! mes amis.”

On Thursday at the Metropolitan Opera, when “Fille” returned in Laurent Pelly’s production, Mr. Camarena’s breezy performance of the aria, complete with clarion, effortless high C’s, was so thrilling that the audience broke into an ecstatic ovation. So after exchanging glances with the conductor, Enrique Mazzola, Mr. Camarena sang it again: 18 high C’s for the price of nine.

In this production, which updates the story to World War I, we see Ms. Yende’s Marie stomping through the camp in army pants and boots, and marching in place alongside the proud soldiers. She sang with gleaming sound, sparkling runs and lots of sass, as well as a gift for physical comedy. Some of the high jinks may have slightly pushed her voice, causing her pitch to slip during some softer passages. Still, this is one of her best Met roles to date.

Ms. Yende and Mr. Camarena treat the story seriously, without a trace of mugging or winking. They were adorable during scenes of budding romance. Complications ensue when the Marquise of Berkenfield, here the commanding mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, realizes that Marie is the daughter she abandoned at birth to avoid scandal, and hauls her off to teach her ladylike behavior. But young love wins out.

Though there is quite a bit of spoken French dialogue in the piece, the Met’s cast pulled it off, including the veteran baritone Alessandro Corbelli as Sulpice, Marie’s protector in the regiment, and the gravelly voiced actress Kathleen Turner, wonderfully droll as the non-singing Duchess of Krakenthorp.

Assuming he keeps singing on the same level, Mr. Camarena may well be prevailed upon to repeat his big aria in the remaining six performances of this run: 18 high C’s down, 108 to go.

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