The Unhappy Deception at the Rossini Opera Festival

23/08/2015

Rossini Opera Festival (3):  L’Inganno Felice: Orchestra Sinfonica G Rossini, Conductor, Denis Vlasenko.  Stage Director, Graham Vick (his 1994 staging) with sets and costumes of Richard Hudson and Projections of Matthew Richardson.  Teatro Rossini, Pesaro 15.8.2015 (JB)

Rossini Festival 3

L’Inganno Felice at the Rossini Opera Festival
c Giacomo Mariotti

Read more

Singers Chosen by the Gods

19/08/2015

 Rossini Opera Festival (2):  Filarmonica Gioachino Rossini, Chorus of Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Chorus Master, Andrea Faidutti;  Conductor, Donato Renzetti.   Jessica Pratt (soprano),  Viktoria Yarovaya (mezzosoprano),  Juan Diego Florez (tenor),  Dempsey Rivera (tenor), Mirco Palazzi (bass).  Adriatic Arena, Pesaro.  15.8.2015 (JB)

Rossini: Messa di Gloria
Il Piano d’Armonia sulla morte d’Orfeo
La morte di Didone

It happens –maybe once in a lifetime- that a singer appears on the scene that sounds as though they have found direct rapport with the gods –the font of music’s life force and creativity.  Caruso and Chaliapin must have been such singers.  I’m not old enough to have heard either live, but their recordings make clear their plug-ins to the Universal Power.  Listening to Juan Diego Florez last night it dawned on me that I have got this the wrong way round.  It’s not that these singers are choosing the gods, it’s the gods who are audibly and actively choosing them.  Florez is a wondrous servant of these powers.  His boyish good looks increase  his youth every time I see him.  He remains ever slender and athletic.  And that goes for his voice too. He recently moved his family to the virgin countryside in the hills above Pesaro, a small market town with bustling activity along the Adriatic coast.  I’m writing these notes in a tranquil garden of a Bed and Breakfast up there, which I enjoy every year.  

Rossini’s Messa di Gloria (1820) was written on commission of the Confraternity of Neapolitan Nobles of San Luigi and like every other Rossini work it was pure opera.  Among the most outstanding of the maestro’s final works was the Petite Messe Solennelle which was neither petite nor a Messa and certainly not Solennelle: allegro Christiano  says the opening Kyrie, so the irony is out in the open.  

The Messa di Gloria (forty minutes in two movements) is for chorus, small orchestra with two tenors, the second, Dempsey Rivera, shadowing the first (Florez) in the second Kyrie, soprano (Jessica Pratt) mezzosoprano (Viktoria Yaravaya) and bass (Mirco Palazzi).

The reason this Mass remains so rarely performed is the virtuoso requirements of the leading tenor in the Gloria.  But Juan Diego Florez’s virtuosity never sounds like virtuosity; it sounds like an ever-increasing youthful voice parting the clouds as it praises its Maker.  That is an operatic experience to be sure, but one of a very rare order.  Should you not be a believer in the gods of creation you would find yourself abandoning your disbelief.  Abandonment is a key part of the Florez delivery.  And this kind of generosity is infectious.  I would not have wanted to be Mirco Palazzi, who had to follow this act, but the bass acquitted himself rather well in the Mass’s final part.  

The concert’s second part had more Florez pleasure awaiting us in Rossini’s 1810 cantata, The Death of Dido for tenor, orchestra and chorus.  Of course, the tenor is recounting the death of Dido, not being her, but in the final cabaletta he wrecks vengeance on Aneas with some very florid singing.  Florez perfected this technique with longtime studies with Ernesto Palacio (also Peruvian)  in Milan.  It seems an extraordinary coincidence that two of the greatest teachers of the Spanish tradition of singing ended their ongoing teaching careers in Milan.  

The other was Mercedes Llopart (1895 – 1970) who counted among her pupils Alfredo Kraus (the nearest voice we had to Florez before Juan Diego appeared on the scene), Fiorenza Cossotto and Renata Scotto.  It was a great pleasure to hear that La Scotto has been able to pass on this vital technique to Jessica Pratt.  Renata Scotto can be agnostic about how she acquired this schooling.  Don’t ask me about technique, she is on record saying, Madame Llopart would demonstrate and we had to imitate her.  What was clearly audible in Jessica Pratt’s  Il pianto d’Armonia sulla morte d’Orfeo  is that that tradition has indeed been passed on.  Every i was dotted and every t crossed with not just glittering accuracy but meaningful expression in every note and phrase.  That seems to suggest that even the gods have need of their archangels right here on earth.  

Jack Buckley

Only Half Joking

19/08/2015

Rossini Opera Festival (4) La Gazza Ladra.  Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Communale Bologna,  Chorus Master, Andrea Faidutti, Conductor, Donato Renzetti; Staging by Damiano Michieletto with sets by Paolo Fantin, Cotumes by Carla Teti and Lighting by Alessandro Carletti.  Adriatic Arena, Pesaro. 16.8.2015 (JB)

duuun 2

La Gazza Ladra at the Rossini Festival
Photo credit: studio amati bacciardi

Read more

Marriage by Examination at the 2015 Rossini Opera Festival

18/08/2015

Rossini Opera Festival (1) La Gazzetta: Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Comunale of Bologna.  Conductor, Enrique Mazzola; Stage Director, Marco Carniti; Sets by Manuela Gasperoni;  Costumes by Maria Filippi;  Lighting by Fabio Rossi; Chorus Master, Andrea Faiutti.  Teatro Rossini Pesaro. 14.8.2015 (JB)

_12A9254bonsignore_Mironov_LoMonaco

La Gazzetta at the 2015 Rossini Opera Festival c Giacomo Mariotti

Read more

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House’s Sundays for a Fiver Festival in November __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Holland Park’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre Reopens in December 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House’s Exciting 2018/19 Cinema Season __________________________________
  • NEW! See Pop-Up Opera’s La Tragédie de Carmen this Autumn __________________________________
  • NEW! Oxford Chamber Music Festival October 2018 __________________________________
  • 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 __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 CBSO at Symphony Hall, Birmingham __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 BBC NOW in Cardiff and Swansea __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • 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! JACK BUCKLEY’S MEMORIES OF LINDSAY KEMP (1938-2018) __________________________________
  • NEW! THE GESUALDO SIX IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Appreciation Talks this Autumn from Helen Astrid __________________________________
  • 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 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Major Work by Stanford to be Premiered – 99 Years Late! __________________________________
  • NEW! THE CONDUCTOR ALEXANDER SLADKOVSKY IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! THE TENOR RUSSELL THOMAS IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! RAFAL BLECHACZ IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month