This morning the following review of this performance was published in the New York Times.
Being Prepared for a Worst that Never Shows Up by Anne Midgette
At this point, the Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi's La Forza del Destino, now in the final week of its run, is like a piñata: everyone has taken a swing at it. And while the conventional wisdom about each individual performer has covered the entire spectrum of opinion, the aggregate has shaded toward "disastrous." So it seemed reasonable, on Saturday night, to brace for a train wreck.
But there was none: at most, there was an occasional horrifying screech of wheels at the crossing. This demonstrates two things: second casts may be better than first ones, and opera is an ever-changing art with performances that may vary from one night to the next.
The second cast was notably strong. A happy surprise was the vital, warm bass of Vitalij Kowaljow as the Padre Guardiano. Another was the baritone Mark Rucker, more than respectable as a stout Carlo. Mary Phillips, a mezzo-soprano, made her company debut on Wednesday as Preziosilla; on Saturday, she sounded slightly driven and brittle, despite an appealing instrument. (Mark Delavan and Ildiko Komlosi will resume the roles of Carlo and Preziosilla for the final performance on Thursday, but Mr. Kowaljow will remain.)
Deborah Voigt's Leonora has divided fans. To my ear, the role exposes her voice's lack of sheer heft. Her lovely shimmer — which worked for the final aria, "Pace, pace" — was not enough to carry her big Act II scene, the opera's emotional heart. Here, she came close to parody, breaking up the big arcs of her vocal line, aggressively rolling her r's, singing flat and gesticulating wildly.
Then there's the unpredictable Salvatore Licitra, once hailed as the next big thing in tenors, since castigated for sloppy performances. On Saturday, I thought he sounded great. His upper middle register remains the weakest part of his voice, but that weakness wasn't as glaring as I've heard it, and for the most part he sounded big and warm. His Act III aria, followed by the duet with Mr. Rucker, was some of the more satisfying Verdi singing I've heard in a while. Less satisfying was the conductor Gianandrea Noseda, with fast, driving tempos and heavy balances in the orchestra.