We miss Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the Siberian baritone with the silver mane who appeared when the world needed a Verdi baritone and proceeded to claim the mantle. Still in his prime, he announced in 2015 that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Two years later, at 55, he was gone. Apart from a surprise solo in a gala months before his death, his farewell to the Metropolitan Opera was a Live in HD transmission of Verdi’s rattling Il Trovatore. At the curtain calls, tears flowed, but not from Hvorostovsky, who beamed through the ovation with smiling gravitas.
Beginning February 22, the house honors the artist’s memory with a full seven nights of free streams. The first night brings an earlier Trovatore, co-starring Sondra Radvanovsky and Marcelo Álvarez. Hvorostovsky’s historic final Trovatore, with Anna Netrebko (on fire) and Yonghoon Lee, brings the series to a close. In between, look for three more titles by Hvorostovsky’s beloved Verdi (Ernani, La Traviata, Un Ballo in Maschera), plus two by Tchaikovsky, another favorite of his. Of these, The Queen of Spades gives Hvorostovsky’s glamorous talents little more than an aria to shine in. As the hero of Eugene Onegin (streaming Wednesday, February 24), on the other hand, Hvorostovsky has dramatic and vocal opportunities to burn. And let’s not forget his chemistry with Renée Fleming at her finest as Tatyana, the country Cinderella who grows up to turn the tables on the conceited libertine who once threw her heart away. If you can spare just one evening for Hvorostovsky this week, Onegin’s the ticket.
Performances are available for streaming on the Met Opera’s Web site
Matthew Gurewitsch writes about opera and classical music for AIR MAIL. He lives in Hawaii