Attila at the Liceu: a Bel Canto Feast

08/04/2018

Verdi, Attila (concert performance): Liceu Orchestra and Chorus / Speranza Scappucci (conductor), Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, 6.4.2018. (JMI)

Attila © A. Bofill

Cast:

Attila – Ildar Abdrazakov
Odabella – Anna Pirozzi
Ezio – Vasily Ladyuk
Foresto – José Bros
Pope Leone – Ivo Stanchev
Uldino – Josep Fadó

In recent days I’ve attended performances of two Verdi operas from his so-called galley years: Il corsaro in Valencia and Attila last night at Barcelona’s Liceu. The results could not have been more different. From a rather mediocre evening in Valencia, I moved to the brilliance of Barcelona, ​​where everything worked perfectly: impressive musical direction and an appropriate and superb cast.

The first pillar on which the success of this concert was based is the musical direction of Speranza Scappucci, who was making her debut at the Liceu. Her conducting was vibrant and full of energy; she took perfect care of the singers and drew an excellent result from both orchestra and chorus. The Vienna Staatsoper was not wrong in putting her in the pit of such a prestigious house, nor was Valery Gergiev mistaken when he brought Ms. Scappucci to the Mariinsky a couple of years ago to conduct Attila. I hope that we will see her conducting opera again soon in Spain.

The Liceu cast featured interpreters of great interest, especially with regard to the main protagonists, Attila and Odabella. It was a true feast of bel canto, a genre to which this opera belongs, although the Verdi seal gives it his own peculiarities.

Bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov as Attila was splendid. There is no doubt that he is the best possible interpreter of the King of the Huns today, and a true successor to the great Samuel Ramey of the 1980s and ‘90s. He knows the score well (it’s not in vain that he sings it almost every year in the Mariinsky). Obviously, the high point of his performance was, as it always is in this opera, the aria and cabaletta of Act I, where he got one of the biggest ovations I can remember in the Liceu; it was practically at the level of the one that Sondra Radvanovsky got last month in Andrea Chenier. The ovations and shouts led him to offer an encore of the last verse of the cabaletta. His voice is beautiful, he sings with great expressiveness, he has outstanding breath control and he only needs a little more volume in the middle to reach the level of Samuel Ramey, for me the greatest Attila of the last forty to fifty years.

Odabella is one of the most difficult parts written by Verdi, and requires an authentic dramatic soprano of agility; she also has to reach a high C in the Prologue and faces a very difficult aria in the first act. Anna Pirozzi, her interpreter, came to the Liceu following her success as Aida in Madrid. In the program notes, Jaume Tribó recalls Ghena Dimitrova in performances of this opera in Barcelona in 1984, and offers a tribute to the Bulgarian soprano, who was indeed a true reference in the character. I would have to say that Anna Pirozzi equals Ghena Dimitrova. Her Prologue was spectacular, and she had no problem reaching a powerful high C; she also shone in her Act I scene, where she sang with exquisite taste. In ensembles she excelled in a special way. In short, she was a great Odabella.

I had not seen baritone Vasily Ladyuk since he won the Operalia contest in Madrid almost thirteen years ago. That promising young baritone has not had the career that one expected, and I was surprised that the Liceu included him in this cast. I must say that it has been a pleasant surprise: his interpretation of the Roman general Ezio was remarkable in terms both of singing and performing. He was especially good in his Act III aria, where he received a huge ovation. His voice is appealing, and I hope we will see him here again soon.

Foresto was sung by José Bros, who once again displayed his excellent phrasing and impeccable diction. He was at his best in Act I, but fell a bit short in the most dramatic moments. Bass Ivo Stanchev as Pope Leone and tenor Josep Fadó as Uldino were well suited to their supporting roles.

José M. Irurzun

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