Wednesday’s dress rehearsal at the Marble Museum proved a beautiful and deeply powerful experience, up close and personal.
But it was the storytelling that was most impressive. Chioldi, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1996 in “Andrea Chenier” with Luciano Pavarotti, is a big-voiced baritone with a broad palette of colors at his disposal.
Although this work is sometimes performed by three singers, Chioldi moved from one character to another. The text ranges from commentary by Knut Fraenkel, who chastises the leader’s ego, credited with the expedition’s demise. Much more personal are Strindberg’s letters to his beloved wife, Anna, from excitement to loneliness. And Andrée’s are more factual and, in their own way, more haunting.
Argento and, in turn, Chioldi created a dramatic and emotional arc that drew the audience into this intimate storytelling. Although the baritone was suffering a cold Wednesday, his expression delivered the intensity of the drama and the depth of the characters’ experience. It didn’t hurt that Chioldi’s diction was outstanding, making it very easy to follow.