New York’s Metropolitan Opera is suffering from a plague of inadequate tenors. Major productions have chugged along with tenors not up to the standard one would expect from the world’s most important opera house. The recent stagings of Samson et Dalila and Aida clearly demonstrate the Met’s tenorial difficulties. Yet the company does not engage the tenor who is probably now the world’s best, the American Michael Spyres. He recently appeared as Edgardo in Opera Philadelphia’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Here’s how critic David Shengold described his performance in the December 2018 issue of Opera News:
Michael Spyres’s triumphant Edgardo marked a rare American stage appearance for the Missouri-born tenor, who was in absolutely top form up through the written if rarely observed Act I high E-flat. His clarity of tone and diction, wedded to rhythmically and dramatically alert phrasing and tapered dynamics made the opera come alive…Spyres final scene was moving. His voice moved with startling ease – in the original key and with an interpolated high D – through passages which many famous tenors have strangled even when the key was lowered. This was a thrilling, remarkable performance.
Spyres has been getting reviews like the one above for years, yet he has yet to appear at the Met. His absence paired with the continued presence at the house of less than mediocrities is an embarrassment. Here’s the tenor singing a Donizetti aria from another opera – Mon seul trésor from Les Martyrs.