A Memorable, Rarely Heard Massenet Opera

23/11/2016

Massenet, Don Quichotte: Soloists, Lyric Opera of Chicago / Sir Andrew Davis (conductor), Civic Opera House, Chicago. 19.11.2016. (JLZ)

ferruccio-furlanetto_clementine-margaine_don-quichotte_cu-125_c-andrew-cioffi

Ferruccio Furlanetto and Clementine Margaine
in Don Quichotte (c) Andrew Cioffi

Cast:
Don Quichotte – Ferruccio Furlanetto
Dulcinée – Clémentine Margaine
Sancho – Nicola Alaimo
Pedro – Diana Newman
Rodriguez – Jonathan Johnson
Juan – Alec Carlson

Production:
Director – Matthew Ozawa
Set Designer – Ralph Funicello
Costume Designer – Missy West
Chorus Master – Michael Black

Infrequently performed in the United States, Jules Massenet’s 1910 Don Quichotte is the best-known of several operatic adaptations of Cervantes’s Don Quixote. As familiar as the novel may be, Henri Cain’s libretto (based on Jacques Le Lorrain’s 1904 verse drama) focuses on the infatuation between Don Quixote and Dulcinée—the latter no longer Cervantes’s vulgar Aldonza idealized, but a noble woman sought by a number of suitors.

The music is in a rich, late-Romantic idiom Massenet used both to evoke the past and to bring out the passion that has a tragic results. In the Chicago Lyric Opera debut of San Diego Opera’s production of Massenet’s score, a uniformly excellent cast delivered the work effectively.

In the title role, Ferruccio Furlanetto gave a vivid reading by expressively using his range and technique. His rich tones evoked his memorable Boris Godunov several seasons ago—very different from his frail Quichotte, especially in the vocally intense final scene of Act IV, in which Dulcinée spurns him.

Clémentine Margaine was a revelation as Dulcinée. Margaine’s sonorous mezzo-soprano was evident from the start as she delivered the florid lines of her opening aria with clarity and evenness. She boasts rich tone and a wide range, and her technique suggests a performer to watch as she commands increasingly prominent roles at opera houses around the world. Following this stunner, she was even more impressive in the fourth act, where her languid cavatina transformed into a spirited cabaletta. In the final act, Margaine deftly capped the performance with her ringing voice accompanying the death scene.

As Sancho Panza, tenor Nicola Alaimo was engaging in the comic passages, which benefitted from his well-considered body language and comfortable stage presence. He also delivered the patter-song passages with clarity and used an impressive legato, especially in the later acts. At the end of Act IV, he matched Furlanetto well in duets interspersed in the score, and commanded the stage with aplomb when he confronted the mocking crowd.

The chorus played a strong role, with Michael Black’s hand evident in the exquisite delivery of the Act I and Act IV set pieces. Their lively evocation of the crowd was first rate, and their polished sound filled the Civic Opera House. Lyric’s orchestra also gave a rich and fervent performance, especially in the opening overture. In the final act, the instrumental interlude has the power of Massenet’s famous “Meditation” in the opera Thaïs, and here the solo cello part was memorable. Sir Andrew Davis’s leadership and elegance were evident, and the imaginative San Diego production had complementary visual dignity and style.

James L. Zychowicz

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Some Forthcoming London Events from Temple Music __________________________________
  • NEW! Royal Opera House Cinema Festival Begins Monday 3 December in State-of-the-Art Linbury Theatre __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet at the London Coliseum 13 December 2018 – 20 January 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Looking Ahead to the 2019 Lucerne Festivals __________________________________
  • NEW! Sándor Végh Memorial Concerts 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Perform Amahl and the Night Visitors in December __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Holland Park’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House’s Exciting 2018/19 Cinema Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 and Beyond __________________________________
  • NEW! Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
 in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Sunday International Concerts Series in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! Salzburg Whitsun Festival 7 – 10 June 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bolshoi Ballet 2018/19 UK Cinema Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018-2019 Geneva Grand Theâtre Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Hallé Season in Manchester __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR ELIM CHAN IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Iain Farrington’s Mahler Piano Series was an Extraordinary Marathon __________________________________
  • NEW! Vancouver New Music’s Quartetti Festival: Recharging the Contemporary String Quartet __________________________________
  • NEW! SOPRANO ELENA MOȘUC IN CONVERSATION WITH CASEY CREEL __________________________________
  • NEW! THE PIANIST ANGELA HEWITT IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • R.I.P. Montserrat Caballé (1933 – 2018): A Personal Tribute by Jack Buckley __________________________________
  • NEW! The Future of Opera is Theatre: An Essay by Casey Creel __________________________________
  • NEW! Jacqui and David Morris’s New Documentary Film Nureyev Celebrates a Unique Man and Dancer __________________________________
  • NEW! MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! THE GESUALDO SIX IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • NEW! TENOR NICHOLAS PHAN IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER SALLON __________________________________
  • NEW! THE PIANIST GEORGE HARLIONO IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month