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The New Criterion

America’s leading review of the arts and intellectual life
- Harry Mount, the London Telegraph


June 2011

An exuberant “Comte Ory”

by Heather Mac Donald

On the New York premiere of Rossini's comic opera.

Some of the best comedy in New York played this spring at the Metropolitan Opera, where a randy French count disguised as a holy hermit could be seen consoling lonely young wives with his “religious counsel.” The tenor Juan Diego Florez, as the title character in Gioachino Rossini’s little-known opera Le Comte Ory (The Count Ory), confirmed his status as one of the most uninhibited comedians on the opera stage today. His fellow Rossinians Diana Damrau and Joyce DiDonato, however, were close at heel. Comedy is the highest end of the bel canto style, and the director Bartlett Sher brought out all the comic potential in this elegantly sly, endlessly tuneful score. The Met’s debut production of Rossini’s penultimate opera demonstrated that self-conscious silliness can be a sublime artistic achievement.

Le Comte Ory allowed Florez to show off his most endearing skill: zaniness in d ...

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Heather Mac Donald is a Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 29 June 2011, on page 59

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