The opera was Donizetti's comedy La Fille du r_giment, and the aria was the famous tenor showpiece "Ah, mes amis" with its nine high Cs. (Fl‹rez nailed them all — both times.) The production was a candy-colored affair designed a couple of decades ago by Franco Zeffirelli (have a look at the photos below and see how bright it all still looks) and restaged by Filippo Crivelli. D_sir_e Rancatore sang the title role of Marie (no mean coloratura showpiece itself), the foundling girl brought up by a regiment of soldiers; Fl‹rez played her beloved Tonio. Bass Alessandro Corbelli was Sergeant Sulpice; mezzo Francesca Franci played the Marquise of Birkenfeld, the long-lost aunt who came to take in Marie and teach her the ways of the aristocracy; Italian stage actress Anna Proclemer took the speaking role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Conductor Yves Abel presided in the orchestra pit.
There are three more performances of this La Fille at La Scala (March 9, 14, 16), with a pair of talented young Georgians, tenor Shalva Mukheria and soprano Nino Machaidze, in the leading roles. Fl‹rez's last performance there was March 3 — because he had to head to New York for his Carnegie Hall recital this Saturday (March 10). "Ah, mes amis" isn't on the program, but he has been known to sing it as an encore ...
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All photos by Marco Brescia/Teatro alla Scala.