The history of this opera is kind of skimpy; I couldn't find anything online to indicate it had ever been performed in Paris. It premiered at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, but later Rossini was so lionized in Paris that it may have been revived by the Opéra. Was the ballet inserted then? Possibly. However, it does fit into the opera nicely and doesn't seem like an add-on. It's also about twenty minutes too long.
Armida struck me as being a kind of hybrid opera; I'm with Rita on that. But the singing should be paramount, and that's what satisfied me. Fleming's runs weren't always crisp, but that must surely be one of the most demanding roles in opera. I was amazed she was still on her feet at the end. And she ended strong. Lawrence Brownlee has lost a lot of weight and looks great, and he still sounds great. And I was much taken with Barry Banks's voice; he doubled as Gernando and Carlo.
The production itself was flat and unimaginative; the Palace of Pleasure was especially disappointing. Why does the Met keep hiring Mary Zimmerman and her collaborators?
[This message has been edited by Barbara (edited 05-02-2010).]