Skip to main content

La forza del destino, Royal Opera

I read in the press that tickets for La forza del destino were available in the black market for £3,500 each. Ouch! Luckily mine was bought months ago directly from the Royal Opera.

The set design by Christian Schmidt started well in a 19th century palazzo in. The video projections were more distractions than anything. But I think they ran out of money because the same palazzo set was re-used just too often, including the final scene (it was supposed to be in a hermit!)



The star-studded cast delivered the goods. Anna Netrebko sang Leonara - her prima donna dramatic outbursts, impassioned lines and rich tone were perfect for this traumatised character. Perhaps she went to all the rehearsals after all. Jonas Kaufmann, as Don Alvaro, interpreted the character with poise. It's very easy to sing everything loudly. Yet Kaufamann observed the composer's typically detailed musical directions - and took some well judged artistic risk to deliver some vulnerable pianissimi. Not to be outshone, Ludovic Tézier's Don Carlo was heroic and determined. Ferruccio Furlanetto (did I say star-studded), appeared as Padre Guardiano, brought some deep vocal lines to underpin the religious scenes.

Antonio Pappano's magical baton ensured the constellation of stars were aligned to deliver an intense and passionate performance.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bruckner 7 and Haitink's last appearance at the BBC Proms

I was lucky to have gotten a ticket to see Bernard Haitink conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in Bruckner 7th Symphony. No doubt it is a work that Haitink knows well - he did it without score. The movements were broad, had shape, and above all nuanced rather than bombastic. His mildmannered gestures were in starck contract to Andris Nelsons's rendition of Bruckner 8 (earlier in the season). It was a real treat to see this maestro still deliveirng the musical umph at 90. A memorable concert that was.


Káťa Kabanová, Royal Opera

Katya, sung by Amanda Majeski, had the passionate timbre making her role convincing. Boris (Pavel Cernoch) was ok, and his duet with Majeski was a delight. Susan Bickley's Kabanova was steely and overpowering. Antony McDonald's design and Richard Jones's direction worked well together - the faux 70s decor and costumes added a certain softness to the harsh reality of the society Janáček portrayed. Edward Gardner did the score justice, bring out fabulous melodic lines, nature and the edgy textures.

Death in Venice, the Royal Opera

Thomas Mann's novella Death in Venice is packed full of atmoshperic details of the characters surrounding Gustav von Aschenbach. David McVar's production of Britten's last opera brought these characters - leading and incidental alike - into vivid portrays on the Royal Opera stage. Vicki Mortimer's set gave the production a cinematic quality - stark sunshine on the beach, foggy canals and dingy Venetian corners. Mark Padmore's von Aschenbach was weighted without being stodgy. His diction was superb. His singing was nuanced. Gerald Finley amazingly morphed from one character to the next - so unless you knew in advance he played the Traveller, Old Gondolier, Hotel Manager, Elderly Fop, Hotel Barber et al, you wouldn't know that was sung by the same singer. Hats off to that.



Leo Dixon was Tadzio - his movements portrayed vividly both the youthfullness of the character and the allure that was key to his interaction with von Aschenbach. The rest of the dancing cast …