Minimalist Aida In Buenos Aires

ArgentinaArgentinaVerdi, Aida: Soloists,Chorus and Orchestra of Opera Ayre. Conductor:Ronaldo Rosa De Scalzo, Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires. 16.8.2013. (JSJ)


Aida:Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires.
Aida:Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires.

Aida: Haydeé Dabusti
Amneris: Edineia Oliveira
Radamés: Juan Carlos Vasallo
Amonasro: Douglas Hahn / Enrique Gibert Mella
Ramfis: Maximiliano Michailovsky
The King: Cristian De Marco
Shapenupet: Rebeca Nomberto / Claudia Montagna
Messenger: Martin Pagano / Pablo Gaeta

Director/costumes/lighting: Eduardo Casullo
Sets: Hugo Ciciro
Chorus: Pablo Quinteros
Choreography: Luciana Prato

In this bicentenary year of Verdi’s birth most opera companies, certainly in Buenos Aires, are putting on his works – in recent weeks Otello, Un giorno di regno and Nabucco, and more to come – with the contribution of Opera Ayre, one of the city’s smaller independents, a new production of Aida.

With moments such as the triumphal march, which really put the “grand” into grand opera, this is a work that cries out for a lavish presentation, but as this production shows it doesn’t have to be. In this case, while a largish orchestra and chorus as well as a group of dancers was assembled, the setting was quite minimalist but sufficient to set the atmosphere, and for example the triumphal march was done through the auditorium until the stage was almost full to bursting.

The version presented included the rarely played original overture but certainly on the opening night the orchestra under Ronaldo Rosa De Scalzo took its time to settle down.

Soprano Haydeé Dabusti led the cast as Aida, showing her aptitude for Verdian roles, with a particularly notable “O patria mia.” Alongside her tenor Juan Carlos Vasallo gave a broadly good performance as Radamés, although sounding forced at times.

Brazilian mezzo Edineia Oliveira was an imposing Amneris, and fellow countryman Douglas Hahn was an expressive Amonasro. Completing the cast Maximiliano Michailovsky did a good job as Ramfis, as did Cristian De Marco as the King of Egypt.

Unfortunately the program notes were rather limited, not including a synopsis of the work, and nor was there surtitling (at least on opening night), making it difficult to follow for anyone unfamiliar with the work.

Jonathan Spencer Jones