Someone recently said that there’s more to Rossini’s La Donna Del Lago than ‘Tanti Affetti’, the aria for the opera’s title character that concludes the work. Well if there is, it doesn’t amount to much. The opera might best be considered an exercise book for bel canto singing rather than an emotionally and artistically rewarding experience. There just isn’t much to the score which explains why it took until this year to get its first performance by the Metropolitan Opera. It received it’s last performance of this run last Saturday. I suspect it will be some time before it returns.
So to save you the time of listening to its two and a half hours of runs, trills, and appoggiaturas brilliantly performed by the Met’s cast, but without Rossini’s usual genius. Here is Tant affetti (taken from the Met performance of February 16). It’s sung by Joyce DiDonato who currently owns the role of Elena (The Lady of the Lake). Ms DiDonato has an amazing facility for all the ornamentations that Rossini requires. The sound of her voice is little hollow especially if you still have Marilyn Horne’s sound in your memory. But this is an unfair comparison, Ms DiDonato is a wonderful artist and in this repertoire no one now active can touch her. I will leave it to your own investigation as to what more there is to this opera.