Argentina Verdi, Un giorno di regno: Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Ensamble Lírico OrquestalDante Ranieri (conductor), Auditorio de Belgrano, Buenos Aires. 7.7.2013. (JSJ)
Belfiore: Enrique Gibert Mella
Barone di Kelbar: Fernando Grassi
Marchesa del Poggio: María José Dulín
Giulietta di Kelbar: Cecilia Layseca
Edoardo di Sanval: Leonardo Pastore
La Rocca: Fernando Santiago
Conte Ivrea: Lucas Córdoba
Delmonte: Alfredo González Reig
Director: Oscar Grassi
Sets: Daniel Feijóo
Costumes: Mariela Daga
Chorus: Gustavo Codina
Apart from Falstaff, into which Verdi concentrated the experiences of a lifetime in the twilight of his life, the only other comic work that he undertook was his second work, Un giorno di regno, which was premiered in September 1840.
That was not a happy period for Verdi as in the preceding two years he had lost his two children and then shortly before he would have begun composition his wife died. The outcome was a somewhat uneven work looking back to Rossini, with elements of Donizetti and looking forward to the dramatic style that he was to develop in his subsequent works. Perhaps not surprisingly the work was a failure – it was taken off after the first performance – and equally that it has remained little performed subsequently.
Un giorno di regno, or “The false Stanislaus,” – or more literally “King for a day” – portray’s the officer Belfiore’s masquerade as King of Poland, in order to protect him. He is in love with the Marchesa del Poggio, who to encourage him to propose is having a dalliance with the Count Ivrea. Meanwhile the Baron Kelbar has promised to the elderly state treasurer La Rocca marriage to his daughter Giulietta, who is actually in love with La Rocca’s nephew Edoardo. Belmonte uses his disguise to outwit Kelbar and La Rocca and achieve Giulietta and Edoardo’s union, and finally reveals himself to claim the Marchesa.
Ensamble Lírico Orquestal, one of the smaller independent companies in Buenos Aires, last year presented the city premiere of the work at the Teatro El Globo, and this year has revived it at the larger Auditorio de Belgrano with an all but identical cast (a new Belfiore).
With now retired singers Oscar Grassi and Dante Ranieri respectively director and musical director, the pedigree of the production was promising, and so it proved both musically and visually. The action was humorous without being overdone and the 26 strong orchestra played with enthusiasm – just occasionally a little too much so and overshadowing the singers. Add to this the effective scenery of Daniel Feijóo and Mariela Daga’s appropriately colourful costumes.
Enrique Gibert Mella was a bluff Belfiore and both Fernando Grassi (son of Oscar) as Kelbar and Fernando Santiago as La Rocca also sung well. Leonardo Pastore as Edoardo was in fine voice, apart from some forcing in the higher range. María José Dulín has a rich warm soprano, which as the Marchesa contrasted well with the sweeter tone of Cecilia Layseca’s Giulietta. Lucas Córdoba was adequate as Ivrea as was Alfredo González Reig as Delmonte.
For the rest of 2013 the company has scheduled only a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (September 22), but for 2014, with this achievement perhaps it could also look to some of the other little performed works by Verdi, or the even more of those of Rossini.
Jonathan Spencer Jones