YNS @ La Scala

June 12, 2011

Young Québécois podium Wunderkind Yannick Nézet-Séguin made a rather smashing  Scala debut last Monday in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. I have long ranted (most often on the Canadian airwaves) about the artistic miscalculation of programming the opera at the Salzburg Festival, be it a dream vehicle for Rolando Villazón or Anna Netrebko. It seems that Bartlett Sher‘s production, which first graced the shores of the Salzach river in 2008, has now reached its true destination – even if it retains much of its pinky cutesiness (a DVD of the original installment – excerpt above – is available on Deutsche Grammophon).  Nézet-Séguin lends the score more than glitter and entrain: some depth, even a touch of tragic grandeur which wasn’t quite there in Salzburg. He doesn’t nearly  steal the show from Vittorio Grigolo, whose mellifluous but small lyric tenor won him enthusiastic scaligeri raves, yet overshadows Nino Machaidze, who was clearly not at the top of her game on opening night.  La Presse has my (short) review.

Reverred colleague Jens F. Laurson, fresh from a Mahler (over)dose in Leipzig, zeroes in astutely on the YNS phenomenon.