Argentina Cilea, Adriana Lecouvreur: Buenos AiresLírica. Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Buenos AiresLírica, Conductor:Carlos Vieu. Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires. 6.6.2014. (JSJ)
Adriana Lecouvreur: Virginia Wagner
Maurizio: Eric Herrero
Michonnet: Omar Carrión
Princess de Bouillon: Adriana Mastrángelo
Prínce de Bouillon: Christian Peregrino
The Abbé: Sergio Spina
Quinault: Walter Schwarz
Poisson: Mauro Di Bert
Mlle Jouvenot: Eugenia Coronel
Mlle Dangeville: Griselda Adano
Director: Crystal Manich
Sets: Noelia González Svoboda
Costumes: Lucía Marmorek
Lighting: Rubén Conde
Chorus: Juan Casasbellas
For an opera that is put on as infrequently as it is, for Buenos AiresLírica to reprogram Adriana Lecouvreur a second time in less than a decade (after the first production in 2005) was a welcome choice – and especially so for this reviewer to encounter the work live on stage for the first time in more than 40 years of opera-going.
The most popular of Cilea’s oeuvre, the work is based (largely fictionally) on the life of the French actress of the same name, and forms part of the verismo period whose exponents included Mascagni and Puccini among others.
This was a new production, with, with one exception, a different cast – and as best befits the work, with its early 18th century setting, a ‘period’ production, set as a “play within a play,” in the words of the American producer Crystal Manich. This was expressed in the straightforward but effective sets from Noelia González Svoboda, which were based around a small theatre – in the first Act backstage with the players acting visible through a diaphanous screen, and subsequently rotated – and the corresponding lighting from Rubén Conde. Lucía Marmorek’s attractive costumes were also spot on for the epoch.
The work requires a competent cast, and such was assembled here, with on balance the female representatives the stronger overall. Virginia Wagner, from her opening ‘Io son l’umile ancella,’ sung with fluidity and grace, and her ‘Poveri fiori’ in Act 4 was filled with emotion. Adriana Mastrangelo, with a befitting coldly elegant demeanour, was a powerful and dramatic Princess. Omar Carrión brought dignity and style to the role of Michonnet but was at his best in the tender and heartfelt scenes with Adriana, rather than the busy opening. Brazilian tenor Eric Herrero made a striking entrance and a convincing Maurizio, although his breadth of vocal color is as yet limited.
Christian Peregrino, the sole member of the 2005 cast, was a capable Prince and Sergio Spina made for a wily Abbé.
Carlos Vieu brought his customary competence to the pódium, giving abundant expression to the rich melodies and leitmotifs for which the work is known.
Jonathan Spencer Jones