For reasons not much worth going into, I can only tell you about Act II of last night's Traviata in much detail. But that works out because Krasimira Stoyanova seems to be an Act II Violetta. (Yeah, it's a stupid category in a way, but also a useful shorthand.) Good in Act I as well, to judge from List Hall, and I'm betting in Act III, but things like "Dite alla giovine" do show off the wonderfully weepy quality of the voice particularly well, and the big Act I scen-o-rama was impressive, not dazzling.
Honestly, my guess about Stoyanova is she's a very high quality singer who is not going to have a major Met career. I'm not sure quite why I say that. A soprano I once knew glumly told the joke once that goes "What do you call a lyric soprano with a pager?" The distinctly non-hilarious punchline, of course: an optimist. No matter how good Stoyanova is, I guess, she's still a middle-of-the-road Italian lyric, and unfortunately she coexists with some names that are hard to dislodge from the marquee, no matter their comparative merits as judged by you or me or someone's Aunt Edith.
The rumor is out there that Kaufman is the Met's next Siegmund, right? Put me down for a seat at that. (Preferably sitting right behind him with some clippers, so I can rid him of that awful mane while I listen, but I guess that's his business.) I'd actually sort of rather hear someone like Polenzani, preferably Polenzani himself, sing Alfredo, but at the same time I'm not complaining about JK. The C in the cabaletta was strangly like last time around, but life goes on. The rest was refreshingly substantial and sung with guts. Someone who was there in the Annoying Golden Age Against Which All is Compared, can you tell me if there's some reminiscence of Corelli there, and then stop talking rather than tell me how much better Tebaldi was than everyone because that's the next track on that record? Because notes here and there reminded me of recordings of Corelli, the tenor who most makes me wish I were twenty years older. Kaufman may grow into something fantastic. For now he's just Really Good. I'm enjoying daydreaming about some breakthrough with his teacher, if he still has one, where he finds a searing D-flat. And then we all go mad with joy, and I can't blog anymore because I'm in the mad-with-joy asylum, I guess.
I don't know quite what to think about Dwayne Croft lately. Once upon a time, more specifically I'd say the late 90's, he was kind of my favorite. It's aged into an impressive sound...in places. But there's a lot of shifting of gears that goes on. I'm not even sure what I'm hearing, but most every note changes color right after it starts. I think maybe he's futzing with his vowels a lot. Anyone? Am I making this up?* Just the same, his second entrance, after Violetta leaves, reminded me that Traviata can still make me scrunch my eyes real tight, which is (believe it or not) as close to crying at the opera as I pretty much ever come.
Next up: The Auditions!
*Nick von Trrill, are you reading? You always have words for what's going on with this kind of thing...