This year once again brought together a plethora of stars: Angela Meade, Stephanie Blythe, Maria Guleghina, Jonas Kaufmann, Yonghoon Lee, Zeljko Lucic, Bryn Terfel, Dolora Zajick, and Keith Miller. Emmanuel Villaume conducted. The New York Choral Society and members of the Metroplitan Opera Orchestra were on hand to provide backup.
The Met Orchestra opened with Camilla Saint-Saens' "Bacchanale" from Samson et Dalila. It's always exciting to hear their virtuoso out of the pit and on a stage. However, a moment of brevity occurred right before Maestro Villaume hit the downbeat with his baton - a cell phone went off. He turned around and stared down the audience.
This concert is always fabulous and as expected, Angela Meade knocked it out of the park. She opened the concert with "Santo di patria" from Atilla. She was joined by Dolora Zajick on the final scene of Act I of Norma (in hopefully what was a preview of a new production at the Met). Angela also joined in on the Finale from Falstaff. It was all quite thrilling - she sounded and looked fabulous. I cannot expound properly what is like to hear her voice - it's all at once enormous, controlled, and above all, beautiful. It's so exciting that she's so young so no doubt, we will hear her for many years to come and no doubt, she will only get better.
Looking utterly dapper in a velvet jacket, and barely 24 hours since singing "The Wonderer" in the Met's Siegfried, Byrn Terfel stole the show with his rendition of "Udite, udite, o rustici" from L'elisir d'amore. He took the stage carrying a bottle of Guinness Stout as his elixer. He eventually set it down on the conductor's podium and produced three Brooklyn Lagers out of his jacket and pants pockets. He gave one to an audience member in the front row and then proceeded to chug one of them. He also gave one to Maestro Villaume, who chugged it as well. He also played up the comedy when he paused and pointed at audience members who were late arriving. It was entirely hysterical (and also quite unfair not to share with us in the 3rd tier).