It was two hours of BIG fun. It's always exciting to go in expecting certain things and then being completely surprised by unexpected discoveries. There were loud groans from the audience when Barry Tucker announced Susan Graham's absence but we were soon singing another tune when he told of us Joyce's appearance, and believe me, she did not disappoint! Joyce DiDonato, a 2002 Tucker winner, flew in from Geneva just to substitute for Susan. Bryn Terfel and Dolora Zajick were also sick. Andrzej Dobber subbed for Bryn, while Luciana D'Intino was there for Dolora. The program stayed the same, except Joyce sang Una Voce Poco Fa from Barber of Seville. The Menotti was replaced by D'Intino singing O Don Fatale from Don Carlo. Dobber sang I Cortigiani from Rigoletto. Additionally, Renee sang Poveri Fiori from Adrianna LeCouvreur. Simon Keenlyside, Diana Damrau and Joyce were the most fun of the evening, and were obviously having the most fun. Luciana's voice is amazing - full and gorgeous. Maria's voice is ridiculously big - it's a good thing Dolora wasn't there or the force of both of their voices at Avery Fisher Hall would have caused the roof to cave in. After a ridiculously rousing Glitter & Be Gay complete with twirling and dancing from Damrau, Renee sang Poveri Fiori and commented to the audience that it was a hard act to follow. The event was filmed for PBS and will be aired some time in the future. Check your local listings.
*Song substitutions supplied by Sally, who copiously took notes and policed a ridiculously loud group of old bitties sitting behind us.