By January 7, 2019 0 Comments Read More →

Review: ‘Adriana Lecouvreur’ at The Metropolitan Opera

(Photo: Ken Howard / Met Opera)

The Metropolitan’s production of “Adriana Lecouvreur,” is C’est magnifique! Based on the play by Eugene Scribe and Ernest Legouve, with an Italian libretto by Arturo Colautti, this opera is Francesco Cilea’s most famous work.

“Adriana”premiered in Teatro Lirico, Milan on November 6, 1902.

The new Sir David McVicar production that opened New Year’s Eve at the Metropolitan is bolder and more dramatic than his production nine years earlier at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. McVicar takes us on a romantic escapade through the turbulent life of real-life actress Adriana Lecouvreur and her soldier-lover Maurizio. The theme we will see here is that of the axiom of the powerful vs the powerless; showing the world as it is, a verismo movement.

The casting of soprano Anna Netreboko, tenor Piotr Beczala and mezzo Anita Rachvelishvili does not disappoint. Joined by set designer, Charles Edwards and Costume Designer, Brigitte Reiffenstuel, the production is exquisite in reflecting the Rococo era. The lavish costumes and set design create a spectacular visual.

Cilea’s score is romantic; even the dark parts have sweet tones. The orchestra is led by conductor, Gianandrea Noseda with passion. He is explosive hitting all the twists and turns masterfully.

The opera opens in Paris, 1730 and the actors of the Comedie Francaise will perform the tragedy “Bajazet.” The stage-within-a-stage promotes the theme of “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” Adriana Lecouvreur, the great actress, is rehearsing her lines. The dialogue speaks of truth and infidelity; something Adriana will struggle with through out the opera.

The story is a love-triangle between Adriana Lecouvreur, Maurizio and The Princess of Bouillon. Lovers Adriana and Maurizio have a cohesion of sorts. Although highly regarded in aristocratic circles for her extraordinary charm and manners, because she is in the theater, Adriana is still considered a commoner. And Maurizio, being the illegitimate son of the King of Poland, spends his life in pursuit of a throne and legitimacy. And as a means to that end, he beds a bevy of female political influencers for political favors. At first glance one might assume his behavior with Adriana resembles that of a cad. But it is misunderstood.

Maurizio’s entanglement with the Princess of Bouillon becomes a threat to Adriana when she discovers that the princess is in love with him. And the Imbroglio escalates into a dynamic cat fight between the two women. This is where Rachvelishvili, the greatest mezzo-soprano alive today, shines. The voice of a tigress echoes throughout the theatre to the back of the house.

Anna Netreboko mesmerizes with ‘lo son l’umile ancella’ (I am the humble servant of the creative spirit) – her voice is effervescent. Set as a play within a play, Netreboko is able to effectively portray both Adriana and Adriana “the actress” as the plot unfolds, reflecting what is happening in her own life as well. Her pairing with Piotr Beczala is sheer dynamics on stage. Their voices together are sensational. The highlight is their fervent duet “Parliam di cosa lieta.”

The stage manager of the Comedie Francaise is Michonnet, (Ambrogio Maestri) is secretly in love with Adriana but knows his love will remain unrequited. When Adriana is devastated by the affair Maurizio has been having with the Princess of Bouillon, he takes the role of her surrogate father and consoles her. He foreshadows Adriana’s fate by warning her of playing outside her league. “Let the powerful have their fun,” he tells her.

At a party, the Princess of Bouillon, who has found out about the romance of Adriana and Maurizio, wants to put Adriana in her place and orders her to perform. Adriana, in a daring attempt to exact revenge, chooses a monologue about infidelity and a cheating woman. This enrages the aristocrat.

In the end, Adriana’s naivety is her demise. She receives a box of wilted violets she once gave Maurizio, thinking he sent them to end their affair. But it is the devious deed of the jealous Princess of Bouillon who exacts her revenge with murder. Adriana inhales the poison laced violets and becomes delirious, just as Maurizio enters to declare his love and ask her to marry him. Netreboko sings “Ecco…Io son l’umile ancella” and like life imitating art, but this time death, we are heartbroken in this tragedy of what could have been a life with a true love.

This performance was on Friday, January 4, 2019

Additional performances: January 8, 12mat, 16, 19, 23, 26

Curtain times vary: complete schedule here.

Running time: 3 hours and 33 minutes, one intermission.

Tickets begin at $25; for prices, more information, or to place an order, please call (212) 362-6000 or visit Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling (212) 341-5410 or visiting

Same-day $25 rush tickets for all performances of Adriana Lecouvreur are available on a first-come, first-served basis on the Met’s Web site. Tickets will go on sale for performances Monday-Friday at noon, matinees four hours before curtain, and Saturday evenings at 2pm. For more information on rush tickets, click here.

About the Author:

Post a Comment