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Subject: Stormy Trovatore at the Colon
From: "Alex S." <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alex S.
Date:Wed, 18 Oct 2000 12:37:18 -0400
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It was an unusual opera evening at the Colon last night, where at the
opening gala for Trovatore, and after a seemingly successful performance,
some of the audience in the upper galleries started a loud booing at the
open curtain solo bows for the principal singers. It could have been
foreseeable booing for the producers, since this new production by David
Amitin was conceived in open spaces with rear projections, with a carpeted
section of raising steps with platforms at the sides and moving walls that
could change to create different spaces. Some social- political statement
was given through the Prussian uniforms of the Count de Luna forces and the
apparition of a group of  “Plaza de Mayo grandmother’s” holding empty
canvases for their missing grandchildren and some projections of holocaust
images. All and all an interesting approach to this warhorse of the Italian
opera repertoire, where the weight of the opera lies in the voices of the
principal singers. And for the occasion the voices were eager, young and
abundant. Dario Volonte sang Manrico with passion and vocal strength,
giving everybody it’s money worth  for the long sustained high C at the end
of Di quella pira, holding it until the last orchestra chord.  As Leonora
Veronica Villarroel after some hesitant and  unfocused notes in here first
aria, gave lessons in bel canto in a slow paced but beautiful phrased
D’amor sul’alli rose with long arched  pianissimi, followed by an intense
Misere and the brilliant cabaletta. Her voice has all the qualities for a
true verdian soprano with rich and dark sonorities in the middle register
and an incredible handling of the pianissimi in the high register, that she
also showed in her dying scene. As Azucena Larissa Diadkova got the biggest
applause of the evening after her impassionate racconto  in Condotta. Her
voice filled the big house and used it to the best dramatic effect. Gennaro
Sulvaran was also a large voiced Count de Luna, showing off long and
sustained high notes, even though his singing seemed still raw, with little
dramatic involvement. Dimitri Kavrakos was a good Ferrando, and the cast
was completed by Marina Biassoti as Ines and Fernando Chalabe as Ruiz.
The conductor Guido Guida, a true singer’s conductor, showed great concern
for style keeping a very good balance with the stage, following the singers
with care allowing long phrases and sustained high notes and mostly making
the usually erratic intonation of the orchestra played with beautiful sound.
The performance started half hour later than the scheduled time due to
union problems with management, and nothing could have foreseen the loud
booing that happened at the end, since the audience all through the
performance enthusiastically applauded all musical numbers. But with the
appearance of Kavrakos in the final open stage solo bows, followed by
Sulvaran, Villarroel and Volonte booing started to be heard coming from the
upper galleries, exploded loud and clear when conductor Guida showed up,
and acquired pandemonium status when the producers, set and costume
designes came on stage.
A very unusual ending for the usually quiet and boring audience of the
Colon gala subscription night, tainted with the aftertaste of unions
turmoil caused by management threats of closing the season in few more days.

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