Well-matured ham

It’s great to see the increasingly fervent Twitter commendations for Andrea Chénier at Covent Garden as the run reached its climax with the last night on 6 February.

As I mentioned in my run down of the (I think!) second night, we were slated to go for a second bite of the cherry, and it was undoubtedly more rewarding. Both Kaufmann and Westbroek were singing with greater freedom and intensity, with Lučić every bit as fine as he had been at the outset. Something about it cohered – the mechanics of putting on a stage show, as you would expect, receding and giving way to the pure energy of the performance.

That said, I still think the show is a lot of old ham, but in the very best way that opera can be: it was entertaining, stirring, edge-of-seat stuff for those of us who like to have top-notch singers seemingly belting it out but actually in thrilling command of what they are doing, whilst an orchestra whips up a ful-blooded storm beneath them. Maybe I’m more attuned to it with a second encounter? That’s not to mention, of course, that however overly crisp and clean the décor, the story was coherently told and cogently directed. McVicar, Kaufmann, Westbroek, Lučić, Pappano, orchestra, chorus, everyone else: Bravi a tutti!

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