Helping a Worthy Cause by Flexing a New Freedom (New York Times)

Patricia Racette and the conductor Asher Fisch at Avery Fisher Hall.
(Nan Melville for The New York Times)


There was a festive atmosphere at the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s annual gala on Sunday at Avery Fisher Hall. This was largely because Peter Gelb, the new general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, has raised the iron curtain that previously barred singers under Met contract from appearing at fund-raising benefits.

It seems fitting that Mr. Gelb, who has recently reached out to passersby in Times Square and to David Letterman’s audience, has made peace with the Tucker Foundation, which supports young opera singers. And Sunday’s enthusiastic audience could enjoy prime Met artists, some singing roles they had not performed in New York.

That included the Boris of René Pape, the dashing German bass, whowith his regal bearing and chiseled features looks like a man born tobe king. In the coronation scene from Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” Mr.Pape’s basso cantante sounded arrestingly powerful, although he wasrather stentorian in the lighthearted “So in Love” from Cole Porter’s”Kiss Me, Kate


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