The recent starring role appearance of Polish tenor Piotr Beczała in Verdi’s Luisa Miller at the Metropolitan Opera in New York elicited much praise from all quarters. In his April 3 review, Robert Levine’s headline “Superb Yoncheva and Beczała in The Met’s Luisa Miller, anchored by Domingo” succinctly says it all. Writing of Beczała’s rendition of Rodolfo, Levine concludes that:
Tenor Piotr Beczała’s bright instrument has always been somewhat difficult to characterize, but he rarely disappoints, and he certainly did not here. I recall hearing Pavarotti, Domingo and Neil Shicoff in the role of Rodolfo and noting how strenuous it becomes by the second act, culminating in the lovely “Quando le sere al placido” and its fierce cabaletta. I feared Mr Beczala’s tenor would be stressed, but it was not – it may not have the morbidezza of Bergonzi or the brilliance of Pavarotti, but his was a very successful undertaking of the part. A classy performance of a new role for this tenor.
Levine’s take on Beczała’s success was also confirmed by the PMC’s special correspondent, pianist Tadeusz Domanowski, a New York City resident who was invited to attend Luisa Miller by one of the PMC’s committed SoCal supporters. After attending the April 9 performance, Mr. Domanowski wrote that the evening was “Truly outstanding, with Beczała shining among the stellar cast.” Continuing his impressions of the spectacle, Mr. Domanowski added:
The staging of Luisa Miller at the MET was special for several other reasons as well. Not only did Beczała—a darling of the MET audiences—have one of the main roles, but Sonia Yoncheva, as Luisa Miller, made a very favorable impression that evening. For me, however, the greatest experience was the performance by Plácido Domingo as Luisa’s father. From his first entry on stage (which was instantly greeted with applause), this exceptional artist left no doubt that his legendary career is fully justified. In spite of his advanced age, (he is 77 years old!), his voice resonates with unusual force, and his stage charisma as well as his aristocratic bearing permeate every move and gesture of this artist. One could only try guessing how his voice must have sounded in person at its prime!
Mr. Domanowski’s opinion was clearly shared by Mr. Levine, who opined that, “Mr. Domingo’s sense of line, the simplicity and sincerity of his delivery, his musicianship are all to be admired, and the intimate sadness of the final act’s duet could move a rock to tears.”