Argentina Mascagni, L’amico Fritz, Cavalleria Rusticana: Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Juventus Lyrica, Antonio Maria Russo (conductor), Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires. 23.3.2012. (JSJ)
Director/sets: Ana D’Anna
Lighting: Ana D’Anna and Fernando Micucci
Costumes: Lizy Tarasewicz
Chorus: Antonio Maria Russo and Hernán Sánchez Arteaga
Fritz: Sebastián Russo / Mariano Spagnolo
Suzel: Sonia Stelman / Patricia Villanova
David: Cristian Maldonado / Santiago Tiscornia
Beppe: Verónica Canaves / Griselda Adano
Federico: Iván Maier / Ramiro Pérez
Hannezo: Juan Feico /Augusto Nureña
Caterina: Laura Benítez
Turiddu: Darío Sayegh / Uruguay Boghossian
Santuzza: Sabrina Cirera / Cintia Velázquez
Alfio: Cristian Maldonado / Juan Salvador Trupia y Rodríguez
Lola: Mariana Artaza / Sabrina Contestabile
Mamma Lucia: Verónica Canaves
As well known is Mascagni’s Cavelleria Rusticana is as little known as his almost contemporary work, premiered the following year, L’amico Fritz. The opportunity to hear them together, here presented by Juventus Lyrica to open its 2012 season, was thus a rare opportunity to be welcomed.
They are very different works and L’amico Fritz, written on the strength of the success of Cavalleria, not only lacks the drama and passion of its forerunner but is also about half as long again, with its three continuous acts running to almost an hour and a half. Perhaps that is why producer Ana D’Anna decided on the unusual – and increasingly distracting – presentation of the opera within the opera with marionettes (mimicking the cast) by a “touring troupe” to an on-stage audience. Fortunately that did not extend to Cavalleria, although the same background, of the dome of a nearby place of worship worked to good effect in highlighting the religious elements in both – Jewish in the former, the Easter day setting in the latter.
That the story of L’amico Fritz is inferior extends to some extent to the music but there is still much to sustain interest, with Antonio Maria Russo’s expressive touch drawing out the detail. The main roles were broadly well presented by Sebastián Russo as Fritz and Sonia Stelman as Suzel. Christian Maldonado made for a bluff rabbi and Iván Maier and Juan Feico were lively friends Federico and Hannezo.
Overall the cast of Cavalleria was the stronger, particularly Darío Sayegh as an expressive Turiddu, Sabrina Cirera an intense Santuzza and Verónica Canaves a striking Mamma Lucia.
Jonathan Spencer Jones