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The Halls Are Alive

Is it something in the air? There’s so much opera going on as spring sets in, you’d swear we were genetically programmed to burst into song in sync with the  croci and daffodils.

I’m super-psyched to hear Anna Caterina Antonacci making her New York recital debut as part of Lincoln Center’s “Art of the Song” series at Allice Tully Hall on April 8. Antonacci – celebrated on the Continent — can boast something of a backhanded compliment in being known as the one that the Met let get away.

A few years ago, she was signed on for Don Giovanni, only to be supplanted by Angela Gheorghiu – who then dropped out. New York’s loss was underscored when Antonacci triumphed  as Carmen at London’s Royal Opera House in 2006. For a glimpse of her earthy, sensual performance (it’ll prompt chills, and perhaps some other involuntary bodily reflexes), check out this video segment:

Antonacci is unusual in that her repertory straddles both mezzo and soprano roles (she found her voice lightening and lifting as she entered her forties). The song list for this recital spans French – a generous helping of Fauré – and her native Italian. If you miss her in New York, you can catch her at the Kennedy Center in D.C. on the 11th.

Meanwhile, the Met is somehow managing to forge ahead – gloriously – with the talent on hand. Anna Netrebko is making her Met role debut as Manon (to air on Live in HD and on Sirius radio on April 7). Natalie Dessay unfortunately had to miss her opening-night as Violetta in La Traviata (in Willy Decker’s highly stylized 2011 rendition), but Hey Kyung Hong rose to the occasion brilliantly, abetted by Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Matthew Polenzani as the Germonts, père et fils. Another treat in store: opening on the 13th, Die Walküre, the second installment of Robert Lepage’s Ring cycle, starring Bryn Terfel, Deborah Voigt, and Stephanie Blythe.

Opera bookings move at such a glacial pace. Still, let’s hope that at some point soon, the Met will find a way to make room for Antonacci.