Skip to main content

A punchy Aida at the Royal Opera

After the last not so successful Aida at the Royal Opera (the night I went, someone in the audience shouted "get on with the bloody singing" during some mannerist movements on stage), there was much anticipation of David McVicar's production of this Verdi masterpiece. The stage design (by Jean-Marc Puissant)  had a dark, industrial and gritty look. The 3-d elements were creatively used to give the stage interest without being intrusive.
Micaela Carosi (as Aida) had a powerful voice and delivered some good acting. Amneris (Marianne Cornetti) had the right kind of highly strung and gutsy voice. The decidedly-chubby Marcelo Álvarez sang a decent Radames - though his opening aria Celeste Aida could have been sung with greater sensitive and observance of the morendo marking at the end would not go amiss. There were lots of people on stage, but my guess was that less than half were singers (there were acrobats, lots of dancers, some muscle-bods) - so while the Royal Opera chorus came out strong, the sound lacked that big chorus feel.

Nicola Luisotti (conductor) didn't hang about in the pit: the tempi were very progressive which made this potentially long and stogy opera exciting and punch.


Popular posts from this blog

Porgy and Bess, English National Opera

I quite forgot the first number in Porgy and Bess is Summertime! Beautifully sung by Nicole Cabell as Bess. On a whole, the chorus number was better sung than the solo numbers - where the diction was generally inadequate. The set (Michael Yeargan) was three-dimensional and worked really well with the many scenes in this work. John Wilson was in his elements in the pit and the orchestra responded with a rhythmic boisterous sound - the best part of the evening.

Les Huguenots, Opéra Bastille

I don't know why so few Meyerbeer operas are staged in London. In order to see his grandest grand opera, I traveled to Paris to see Les Huguenots staged at Opéra Bastille.

The star of the show was Lisette Oropesa who sang Marguerite de Valois - she got the warm yet regal tone for the role, her delivery of the emotions was fantastic. Yosep Kang, a late replacement for Bryan Hymel, was passable. His rendition of Raoul de Nangis could do with a few more rehearsals. And his voice strained a little at the higher register (there was one gasp in the audience when we all thought he was going to crack!) His love interest Valentine, sung by Ermonela Jaho, was good - a more youthful if pensive voice.

The male chorus was a little agricultural in act 1 - untidy and lacking in focus. Luckily, the men were saved by the women (again) when the ladies of the court sang lusciously while frolicking along a real stream.

Where was the BALLET???

The set design had modern lines and shades - a Parisien c…

Hagen Quartet, Wigmore Hall

Yes, the legendary Hagen Quartet playing at the Wigmore Hall.

The Schubert String Quartet in G minor sounded rough, with problematic intonation from the first violin. The whole piece sounded like a play through. Not a good start. The playing of the Webern pieces (Five Movements / Six Bagatelles) could not be more different. They got through the grittiness and bleakness of these concise pieces with precision and poise.

The second half of the concert was Haydn String Quartet in Bb (Op 55 N 3). The playing was warm, coherent with the kind of interplay between the quartet members that one would expect. Good tempi choice. This warmth was naturally conveyed through brilliant acoustic of the hall.