Past performances (Archived)
Gerard Finley was a different Michonnet from others I’ve seen – more expansive, less of a character actor – but the beauty of his velvet timbre and his lieder singer’s attention to the nuance of the text made him intensely watchable. Each time he portrayed one of the scenes where Michonnet finds himself incapable of declaring his true love to Adriana, I felt the man's wrenching melancholy; his unheeded advice to Adriana not to meddle in the affairs of the great was heartbreaking.Tenor voices are a matter of taste, and I have to admit that in this kind of repertoire, I prefer a darker, more rounded timbre to Brian Jagde’s bright, clear tones. But Jagde tackled the role of the dashing Maurizio with enthusiasm and improved steadily through the evening, at his best in the boisterous relation of his war heroics, “Il russo Mèncikoff”. On the softer side, he was effective in the tenderness of the closing duets as Adriana dies of poison.As ever at Covent Garden, supporting roles were strongly cast, most notably Bálint Szabó’s powerful bass as the Prince. Under Daniel Oren, the Royal Opera Orchestra turned in a solid performance – lacking, perhaps, in the last degree of Puccini-esque sweep and lustrous string timbre, but well paced and sprightly.This production of Adriana Lecouvreur isn't the star vehicle that I'm sure some would like, but it’s a solid, watchable, well put together and well performed production of an opera I love.