Gone are the days of the “old-school” legends in opera. Don’t get me wrong, there are still amazing and incredible singers today, but I’m talking about the greats like Renato Bruson (my absolute favorite baritone of all time), Nicolai Ghiaurov, Piero Cappuccilli, Ruggero Raimondi, and way more whom I haven’t listed here. So, how lucky the city of Chicago is to be able to hear one of these legends, Italian bass, Ferruccio Furlanetto, sing the title role of Massenet’s Don Quichotte, a role that Furlanetto feels the closest to. I’ve heard Furlanetto sing at Lyric before (an aria from Verdi’s Don Carlo), for a tribute concert to the late Ken Pigott in the spring of 2015. Plus, I’ve had a couple of his recordings with Maestro Muti for a while, but I haven’t heard him live in a full opera before, so I was really looking forward to hearing him sing Don Quichotte. Last night, I finally made it down to Lyric (classes for this quarter have finally ended!) to hear Furlanetto in the role, and it was an amazing experience to say the least. Like I said above, my absolute favorite baritone is the great Renato Bruson, and it’s because not only is his voice just so incredibly smooth, but he totally inhabits the role that he plays. (Just watch the 1986 La Scala production of Nabucco, and you’ll see what I mean.) This is exactly what Furlanetto brought to the performance last night. His voice could cover such a large range and was just so smooth (and strong) all throughout, but most importantly, he was Don Quichotte, vividly bringing the good-natured, idealistic knight to life. Every scene with him was revelatory. Bravo Ferruccio and hope to hear you again at Lyric soon!