August 21, 2019
Verdi, Opera’s “Soul Man”
Giuseppe Verdi! When it comes to operas that make the most powerful emotions live onstage, there’s no one like him. When his Luisa Miller makes its eagerly awaited return to Lyric this season, audiences will be overwhelmed by the music, which truly exemplifies Verdi at his best.
Like all the other great Verdi operas Lyric has presented, you’ll hear in Luisa Miller all the special qualities that makes him unique. Above all, you’ll feel his music penetrating your soul. He was a truly great soul himself, and the sheer depth of his heart comes through everywhere in his greatest operas.
Seeing Luisa Miller at Lyric is, in fact, a natural segue, since it follows recent productions of three Verdi operas that were written around the same time. If you heard Rigoletto, you enjoyed a stupendously exciting baritone role, filled with powerful drama. Cue to Luisa Miller, with its wonderful characterization of Miller, Luisa’s father. Remember the father-daughter duets in Rigoletto? There’s a memorable duet in Luisa Miller for the heroine and her father, musically and vocally one of the most beautiful and moving scenes in all of Verdi.
Remember Verdi’s Il trovatore, with the rip-roaring tenor aria that ended Act Three? Luisa Miller has a stupendous number for the tenor, Rodolfo, that concludes Act Two so thrillingly that you’ll be shouting “bravo” at the top of your lungs! And what about La traviata, with its exquisite, tragic romance of Violetta and Alfredo? In Luisa Miller we have another pair of ill-fated lovers, Luisa and Rodolfo. When things go tragically wrong for them in the final scene, you’ll be reaching for your handkerchiefs.
Above all, there’s Luisa herself, a heroine in the great tradition of Verdi. Her anguish truly spoke to him. In every note she sings, we hear Verdi, the soul man, using his music to illuminate feelings as no one else can.