BWW Review: A Yummy FILLE DU REGIMENT Thanks to Yende and Camarena (and Don't Forget Donizetti)

BWW Review: A Yummy FILLE DU REGIMENT Thanks to Yende and Camarena (and Don't Forget Donizetti)
Soprano Pretty Yende and tenor Javier
Camarena. Photo: Marty Sohl/The Met

I've already cheered tenor Javier Camarena's Herculean take on "Ah, mes amis!"--with 1 ½ dozen high Cs, including an encore--but there's more than the tenor in Met's current revival of the Donizetti gem to make the season suddenly seem grand.

Camarena and soprano Pretty Yende made a potent comic pairing once before--not in the recent LES PECHEURS DE PERLES but two seasons back, when they sang Rossini's IL BARBIERE DE SIVIGLIA to a fare-thee-well, in what was supposed to be the tenor's farewell to the role of Almaviva. As far as I'm concerned, I could listen to the two of them in the Met's BARBIERE once a year 'til the cows come home.

BWW Review: A Yummy FILLE DU REGIMENT Thanks to Yende and Camarena (and Don't Forget Donizetti)
Soprano Pretty Yende and chorus.
Photo: Marty Sohl/The Met

But FILLE is something different, particularly for the soprano, the canteen girl Marie, the opera's title role. While I cherish the duo in the buffa heights of Bartlett Sher's production, the Rossini is a very different animal from the Donizetti.

It somehow manages to offer just as many laughs but also offers tastes of LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR and other of the composer's dramme liriche that make it a richer musical evening in the opera house. Yende manages to hit a bull's-eye with both aspects of the score.

Conductor Enrique Mazzola and the Met orchestra, of course, helped bring out all the best in the score--along with Laurent Pelly's delightful production (with associate director Agathe Melinand and currently in the hands of revival director Christian Rath) that is one of the Met's best when it's in the right hands like this, of course, reset to World War One.

Chantal Thomas's stage design along with Joel Adam's lighting, Laura Scozzi's choreography and Pelly's own costumes make their own first-rate contributions. While I can't imagine Sutherland and Pavarotti making a go of a take like this, it's just fine with me with the current cast, as it did with Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez when it was new over 10 years ago.

BWW Review: A Yummy FILLE DU REGIMENT Thanks to Yende and Camarena (and Don't Forget Donizetti)
Mezzo Stephanie Blythe (l) and actress Kathleen
Turner. Photo: Marty Sohl / Met Opera

Don't let me forget mezzo Stephanie Blythe, the Met's buffarina-in-chief, as the Marquise de Berkenfield. She was absolutely indispensable to the shenanigans, as was baritone Alessandro Corbelli as Sergeant Sulpice.

Actress Kathleen Turner--a long way from BODY HEAT--came out in the "special guest star" role of the Duchesse de Krakenthorp, one that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has done in Washington. Turner turned in a basso profundo [bassa profunda?] take that added to the evening's pleasures, as did bass Paul Corona as the haughty major domo. The male contingent of the Met's first-rate chorus, made for a sturdy legion of papas for Marie.

If you can snag a ticket, run. You won't regret it.

Further performances of the opera will take place on February 15, 18, 23, 26 and the matinee on March 2, when it will be transmitted worldwide as part of the Met's Live in HD series, which is now seen in more than 2,200 movie theaters in more than 70 countries around the world.

Curtain times vary--complete schedule here--the running time is just over 2 ½ hours with one intermission. Tickets begin at $25; for prices, more information, or to place an order, please call (212) 362-6000 or visit www.metopera.org. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling (212) 341-5410 or visiting www.metopera.org/groups.

Same-day $25 rush tickets for all performances 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.

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From This Author Richard Sasanow

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