What a marvelous night of Italian songs! The lovely Anna Bonitatibus brought some friends to present Italian songs from the 19th century. They ranged from solo voice to duets and ensembles. Serena Farnocchia has a resounding voice full of power that suited perfectly Mercadante cantanta. Rocco Cavalluzzi has an interesting voice too and sung his parts quite well. Anna herself was great, bringing her very expressive voice to those songs taking much care of the text.
Wow. For the first time I saw the same opera production in two different cities/opera houses. Does that make me an opera-pro? It was interesting seeing how a production that somehow worked in a different place didn’t quite work here. Of course having better casts (3!) in Madrid two years ago (Nucci, Rodríguez, Peretyatko, Oropesa…) made a difference but probably the biggest one was the conductor. In Madrid Luisotti conducted it remarking the dark side of the score.
Wow. This was the operatic event of the year. Full star cast, superb conductor, new production from the typical enfant terrible and a lot of money. Plus, of course, the rare opportunity to see and listen to the original French version of the opera. With such high expectations it was rather difficult to match them, but we were fortunate and we had a magical opera night. 20 minutes of applause with 3 rounds of individual salutations say it all.
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.
This was my first visit ever to the ENO so first some generic considerations. The venue Oh man, London Coliseum is huge. Really huge. I was expecting something like a mid-size opera theatre, as the Komische Oper in Berlin. But not. It’s huge. Interior is mixed, with narrow rooms and bars with a look of the late 90’s fitting into a old-fashioned-theatre-but-renewed. The hall decoration is kind of exuberant and the stalls seats/disposition are the ugliest I have ever seen.