In 1994, Thomas Hampson, Frederica von Stade, and Renee Fleming starred in the San Francisco Opera’s world premiere of Conrad Susa’s opera Dangerous Liaisons, based on Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s 1782 novel about the sexual intrigues of bored French aristocrats before the Revolution. Hampson, as Vicomte de Valmont, spends much of the first act of the opera trying to seduce Fleming’s virtuous Mme. de Tourvel, egged on in his evil plan by von Stade’s Marquise de Martueil.
In this duet, he finally succeeds:
Alas, the video cuts away before he lifts her in his arms and carries her offstage–
Things do not turn out well.
I saw this premiere on PBS in 1994. It was–ahem–quite a show. (^_^) Enough that this knobite sat with raised eyebrows through most of it. I was less sophisticated then.
Still, I regard it as some of the finest singing the three principals ever did in their respective careers. Hampson in particular gave a wonderful performance as a brutal and careless Don Juan type who finds himself head over heels in love with his last conquest, while von Stade made Marteuil a monster of deceit who comes to the end she fears most–alone and her beauty gone.
Poetic justice. 😉 😀