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A champion of the original version is Valery Gergiev, music director of the Mariinsky Theatre, who recorded the opera in 1997 with an all-Russian cast, including soprano Galina Gorchakova (Leonore) and tenor Gegam Grigorian (Alvaro).
Gegam Grigorian has honed his conception of Pierre over many performances, and he knows exactly how far to take the clumsy striving and the gaucheness of the character without having it become a negative caricature.
With: Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Anna Netrebko, Samuel Ramey, Gegam Grigorian, Elena Obraztsova, et al.
Tentatively scheduled to appear in the cast are Maria Guleghina, Audrey Stottler and Sharon Sweet alternating as Turandot, Lando Bartolini, Gegam Grigorian and Kristjan Johannsson as Calaf and Barbara Hendricks, Barbara Frittoli and Cristina Gallardo-Domas as Liu.
The engaging young soprano Anna Netrebko, in her Metropolitan Opera debut, sang with appealing freshness and radiance as Natasha; mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk (also in her Met debut) sang a stylish and gentle Sonya; while tenor Gegam Grigorian was an endearing, sympathetic Count Pierre Bezukhov.
Tenor Gegam Grigorian sang in a full-throated fashion.
Unfortunately Rigacci's emotionless conducting made Cavalleria Rusticana less than it could have been, with Giovanna Casolla as a dramatically exciting, vocally wonderful Santuzza supported by an excellent cast that included Rosa Maria Orani as Lola, Gegam Gregorian as Turridu, Antonio Salvadori as Alfio and Eleonora Jankovic as Mama Lucia.
Such artists as baritones Vladimir Chernov, Dmitri Hvorovstovsky, Sergei Leiferkus, Vassili Gerelo (the last three having already sung in Canada), sopranos Galina Gorchakova, Nina Rautio, Yelena Prokina and Maria Guleigina, mezzos Olga Borodina, Larissa Diadkova and Yelena Zaremba, tenors Sergei Larin, Vladimir Galusin and Gegam Grigorian, as well as a legion of others, are today in demand as much in the standard 19th-century Italian repertoire as in Russian works.
Gegam Grigorian was the strong tenor portraying Carlo VII, Carlo Guelfi the forcefully rumbling baritone as Giacomo.