My husband and I attended the last performance of our Metropolitan Opera '07 -'08 opera subscription on Monday evening -- the gala benefit premiere of LA FILLE du REGIMENT
Yves Saint Laurent underwrote this gala, and there was quite a buzz on Lincoln Center's plaza with paparazzi and reporters under a tent waiting to take pictures of people who were obviously important, but who I unfortunately didn't recognize. It was still exciting to see!
Since this was a gala premiere, there were many in the audience attending in formal in black tie and gowns, and the Grand Tier Restaurant which you can see in the picture below, with the elegant staircase entrance below it, was overflowing with invited guests.
You can read the entire synopsis here, but it is basically the story of a young woman who was an orphan raised by a French army regiment as their mascot, and begins at the moment of her first stirrings of love. Complications and comedy ensue when her true identity is discovered.
The most amazing performance of the night was Jaun Diego Florez's rendition of " Pour mon ame quel destin!" in his role as Tonio, which has nine high C notes, and is notoriously difficult to sing. Florez not only captured every note, but he delivered them with such pure clarity and strength he literally brought the house down! In all my years of attending Met performances I never heard such long and loud ovation and cries of "Bravo!" It was truly thrilling! In fact the orchestra began the chords for the aria again and Florez sang an encore!
The opera role of Tonio was the breakout role for Luciano Pavarotti in 1972, and I couldn't help but feel that Mr. Florez will be one of the brightest stars in opera too.Here is a photo of Juan Diego Florez taking his bows at the finale:
If you would like, read The New York Times review. Watch their video clip of Juan Diego Florez singing "Ah! Mes Amis" from "Fille du Régiment" at the Metropolitan Opera dress rehearsal, but if you want a real treat go to the left side bar of the article and under the title "Those High C's" click on the arrow to listen to a MP3 recording of the Monday night performance of Mr. Florez, that we saw, followed by the thunderous ovation and the encore ... it will give you chills!
Thank you Metropolitan Opera and New York Times for letting me relive that again!