Spain Giordano, Andrea Chénier: Ópera de Oviedo Chorus, Oviedo Filarmonía Orchestra / Gianluca Marcianò (conductor), Teatro Campoamor, Oviedo, 10.12.2017. (JMI)
Andrea Chénier – Jorge de León
Maddalena – Ainhoa Arteta
Carlo Gerard – Ambrogio Maestri
Bersi – Mireia Pintó
Contessa di Coigny/Madelon – Marina Rodríguez Cusí
Roucher – Francisco Crespo
Fléville/Fouquier-Tinville – David Oller
Mathieu – Àlex Sanmartí
Abate – Manuel Gómez Ruiz
Il Incredibile – Jon Plazaola
Schmidt/Dumas – Cristian Díaz
Production: Festival de Peralada and Bilbao’s ABAO
Director – Alfonso Romero
Sets – Ricardo Sánchez Cuerda
Costumes – Gabriela Salaverri
Lighting – Félix Garma
Undoubtedly, the main draw of the Oviedo opera season, at least in vocal terms, was this Andrea Chénier. Unfortunately, Carlos Álvarez, who was already ill at the premiere, was forced to cancel, and the performance that resulted was somewhat irregular. Ainhoa Arteta was outstanding and the musical reading effective, but the production itself is not terribly interesting.
This production premiered in Peralada in July 2014. Alfonso Romero does a traditional job – as it has to be with this opera where the libretto indicates precisely where and when the action takes place. There’s no room for transpositions or originalities but, despite that, Alfonso Romero offers some, like Il Incredibile stabbing Bersi to death.
The stage is basically the same throughout the opera. The first act takes place in a room surrounded by windows. In Act II, the windows are raised to offer a wider background, dominated by the statue of Marat. In the courtroom scene of Act III, the glass windows are lowered. The fourth act takes place in the same room, as if the mansion of the Countess has been changed into a prison.
The musical direction under Gianluca Marcianò moved between efficiency and routine, with a very flat first part, although his reading improved in the final two acts.
The protagonist who gives title to the opera was interpreted by tenor Jorge de León, whose voice is perfectly suited to the character, as he demonstrated when he debuted in the role at Teatro Real almost eight years ago. In the fourth act, he excelled in the final duet with Maddalena. His voice is marred at the moment by a pronounced vibrato, which did not exist until recently.
The best in the cast was Ainhoa Arteta as Maddalena di Coigny. This is a role that she could sing at the top opera houses in the world. She was excellent in the two duets with Chénier, but where she was truly outstanding was in the famous ‘La Mamma morta’, which was very moving.
As mentioned earlier, Carlos Álvarez had been announced as Carlo Gerard and was one of the main attractions of the cast, but he had to cancel. Ambrogio Maestri was a good choice for substitute, given the situation, but his performance was less than convincing. He is much more interesting in roles such as Dulcamara or Falstaff rather than in this type of dramatic part.
Among the secondary characters, the best was Jon Plazaola as Il Incredible. He has the right voice for the role and used his palette of colours perfectly. Baritone Alex Sanmartí was also vocally well suited to Mathieu. However, the rest of the secondary characters were generally disappointing.
José M. Irurzun