Monday night’s was the final in a run of six performances of Mozart’s very last opera,La clemenza di Tito, at the Met. It was also the very first time French mezzo-sopranoGéraldine Chauvet set foot on the world-famous stage. On a day’s notice she stepped in, taking over for an ailing Elīna Garanča, to fill the main character’s Roman shoes. And so simultaneously occurred the newcomer’s Met debut and role debut, that of Sextus (Sesto).
Any initial disappointment over the necessary replacement quickly dissipated—at the latest, by the opera’s third number, “Deh, prendi un dolce amplesso, amico mio fedel”(Let me warmly embrace you, my faithful friend), a 54-second duettino with Annio, exquisitely sung with American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey. The enthusiastic audience of this sadly under-attended performance had to realise by that point that they were witnessing a rare exciting event.