A moving Simon Boccanegra in Buenos Aires

ArgentinaArgentina  Verdi, Simon Boccanegra: Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro Colón. Conductor: Stefano Ranzani, Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. 22.7.2011. (JSJ)

Direction: José María Condemi

Sets: Cameron Anderson
Costumes: Producción Teatro Colón Eduardo Caldirola
Lighting: Roberto Traferri
Chorus: Peter Burian


Simon Boccanegra: Roberto Frontali / Omar Carrión
Maria Boccanegra: Ángela Marambio / Virginia Wagner
Jacopo Fiesco: Konstantin Gorny / Ernesto Morillo Hoyt
Gabriele Adorno: Andrew Richards / Gustavo López Manzitti
Paolo Albiani: Fabián Veloz / Emiliano Bulacios
Pietro: Mario De Salvo / Christian Peregrino
Captain: Fernando Chalabe / Duilio Smiriglia
Doncella: Cintia Velázquez / Cecilia Jakubowicz


From left Ángela Marambio (Maria), Gustavo López Manzitti (Adorno) and Roberto Frontali (Boccanegra)

After the fun and frivolity of Haydn’s Il mondo della luna and Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims , some grand opera in the form of Simon Boccanegra was a welcome production on the local scene. And it was one that affirmed the continuing re-emergence of the Teatro Colón’s artistic merits and excellence.

With a mix of international and local singers, the production was one of both dark and light, well reflecting the varying emotions of this overwhelmingly “dark” work – the joy of Boccanegra and Maria in “finding” each other as father and daughter, the jealousy and remorse of Adorno to Maria’s love for Boccanegra, the dark mutterings of Fiesco and the treachery of Paolo against Boccanegra, and the final loss as he succumbs to the poisoned drink.

Reflecting Boccanegra’s past as a corsair, t he concept of this production by the San Francisco-based Argentine José María Condemi with scenery by American Cameron Anderson was based around the “ship,” with an image of a ship under sail in a storm looming over the Prologue and a wrecked ship-like deck with wooden ribs and a fallen mast and hanging sail serving as successively the Grimaldi palace gardens and various rooms in the Doge’s palace. Although this worked well there was just too few differences to give a sense of different distinct locations.

Roberto Frontali made a fine Boccanegra in good voice, although he didn’t always plumb the role’s psychological depths. The Chilean soprano Ángela Marambio has a rich and powerful voice, which she used expressively, and alongside her Gustavo López Manzitti – filling in Andrew Richards, who had taken ill hours before the opening – was an ardent Gabriele Adorno, while Konstantin Gorny well represented the unforgiving Jacopo Fiesco. Particularly notable was Fabián Veloz in one of his most important roles to date as Paolo Albiani, and both visually and vocally this well rounded baritone expressively portrayed the changing feelings towards Boccanegra.

Italian conductor Stefano Ranzani drew expressive playing from the orchestra and the chorus was well trained by Peter Burian.

Jonathan Spencer Jones

Production Picture courtesy of  Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires