Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci Review: Drunk and Deadly

A pair of shows at the Metropolitan Opera mix jealousy with inebriated men for murderous results.

By

HEIDI WALESON

April 15, 2015

“Marcelo Álvarez’s vital, metallic tenor is ideal for this hapless Turiddu—his sound is clear and penetrating rather than beefy, the voice of a man who follows his instincts but has neither the weight nor the guile to protect himself. His duet with the pleading Ms. Westbroek was a masterpiece of egotism; his final scene with his mother, as he goes off to be killed, was fatalistic and buttressed by the wine he’s drunk to bolster his courage.

For “Pagliacci,” religion and darkness have been swept away…

Mr. Álvarez’s wish to sing both tenor leads was the reason for this new production, and he is a potent Canio, realistic in how he shows the character’s fundamental weakness. His “Vesti la giubba” was naked and unexaggerated, more an outburst of anger and confusion than heartbreak…”