Umberto Giordano's "Andrea Chenier" is a major part of the operatic canon, but has rarely been performed regularly at the Metropolitan Opera. The last time Met audiences got a chance to see the verismo masterpiece was in 2007 when American tenor Ben Heppner took on the title role. For the revival on Monday, March 24, Argentinean tenor Marcelo Alvarez took on the work's eponymous character with Patricia Racette and Zeljko Lucic filling out the cast.
The production Nicolas Joel debuted back in 1996 and despite being inherently traditional in its trappings, remains modern in its intelligent use of space. "Chenier" does not really lend itself to a modern update or transposition of the action to a different locale of time period. The French Revolution is not simply mentioned in a few passing statements, but dominates the action of the work from the start to the finish. Continue Reading