Last night the Met Opera presented its new production of Verdi’s La Forza Del Destino. Broadcast on its Sirius XM channel it will be telecast in HD on March 9. Staged as a vehicle for star soprano Lise Davidsen, the performance reached no higher than that encountered at a good provincial German or Italian theater. The production seems to be the latest in the Met’s attempt to annihilate the art form.

It was marred by two problems only one of which I can comment on now. The first was the lack of voices up to the standard needed to realize one of Verdi’d most difficult and inconsistent scores. Davidsen is a great singer, but her voice is made for Wagner and Strauss. It has none of the vocal velvet needed to realize Verdi’s doomed heroine. Power she has plenty, but golden tones are not in her armamentarium. This outing was her first foray into Verdi at the Met and it was not a success. She has the wrong sound and would do best to forget about Verdi. Her sound in this performance was dry and without a trace of Verdian richness.

The second problem was what sounded like another idiot staging from the Met. Since I could only listen to a description of it, I’ll wait for the telecast to dwell on it. It’s set in a modern wartorn city filled with the typical detritus of Eurotrash. When the production team took a bow after the performance there was silence.

The other singers were competent, but that’s all. Forza needs transcendence from its leads. My experience with the opera goes back to the primes of Zinkas Milanov, Richard Tucker, and Leonard Warren who set a standard that still shines like a supernova. Brian Jagde is from the Kurt Baum school of tenors. He has a gravelly unpleasant sound that hits all the notes, but which creates no excitement or charm. Igor Golovetenko gave no hint that his role was one of Verdi’s baritone gems.

Bass Soloman Howard sang both Leonora’s father and Padre Guardiano giving the already afflicted Leonora an excess of paternal fluidity.

Forza is an uneven opera with episodes of glory amid some dry spots. It needs, in addition to great voices, a conductor of vision and power. Yannick Nézet-Séguin seemed afflicted with spasms of somnolence. He slept through the famous overture, but at other times was fully awake at the baton. A strange outing for the usually reliable conductor. Perhaps he was distracted by the the extra-operatic stage business that was described the the broadcast’s announcers. When supported by the right cast and conductor this opera blazes with beauty and inspiration. When surrounded by a pedestrian production it seems endless. Most of the numbers were greeted with almost no applause. I can’t remember the last time the claque had to flog the audience so hard for so little result. They were relentless in their attempt to manufacture enthusiasm from an audience whose attention had lapsed sometime during the overture.

More to come after the upcoming telecast.