Believe it or not this was my first Cavalleria and my first Pagliacci on theatre in my life. And it couldn’t be better. Cavalleria Rusticana Let start with the obvious: Elina Garança was perfect. After her Eboli in Paris Don Carlos I was waiting for this Cavalleria as one of the top highlights of the opera season. And yes, confirmed: she is the best mezzo these days. Her voice, her singing line, her acting… is just perfect.
The staging of this production of Verdi Les Vêpres siciliennes is full of lights and shadows. The night was saved by a very good musical direction and supreme singing by Bryan Hymel. The Stefan Herheim production is based on the already seen so many times theatre within the theatre concept. That is fine. Question is if the Alexander Meier-Dörzenbach dramaturg is explicitly dumb and clumsy to remark this idea. If not, well, it’s a dumb and clumsy production.
After missing the only-English season opening of the London Symphony Orchestra this was to me the real season opening. This was the courageous programme: a work that has been part of the orchestra glorious tradition and one of its peaks with Colin Davis recording. Two changes from the announced cast: One month ago Florian Boesch was replaced by Gábor Bretz as Brander. Not a big deal as it the shortest role One week ago Gerald Finley was replaced by Christopher Purves.