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Subject: Re: Andrea Chenier
From: Bob Hadfield <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Hadfield <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:37:30 -0400

text/plain (35 lines)

I attended the performance at the Staatsoper last night.  I assure you the booing (which did 
happen) was for the production.  I'm generally a defender of new directorial approaches, 
but this one was just wrong headed.  It was one of those "little boxes" things were the 
stage is divided up into four or five little rooms where different things are happening in each 
room.  The singers, especially Kaufmann, appeared to be very uncomfortable in these small 
spaces.  Luca Salsi had to deliver "Nemico della patria" from about twenty feet above the 
stage floor.  Giordano's music, at least to me, just naturally leads to the big gestures.  There 
was literally no room for any of that here.  When Chenier himself is not allowed to dominate 
the stage, he loses much of his charisma.  Even with the voice of Kaufmann, not having his 
bedt night, he loses much of his charisma.  The audience loved Salsi who sang beautifully 
and looked terrific in the gorgeous " Directoireish"costumes. I'm very fond of Harteros who I 
think has a beautiful voice, but as someone else on the list pointed out, "la mamma morta" 
was played so slowly, that she ran out of steam before the big ending.  I've heard Kaufmann 
live twice in this role, previously at Covent Garden with Pappano.  I love him and his sound, 
but I've been disappointed both times. He seems not able to figure out how to bring Chenier 
to life vocally, at least for me. In both performances he came to grief at exactly the same 
moment, launching the beginning of "Ora soave." I'm not a musician so I don't know exactly 
what goes wrong for him at that spot in the score, but he seems to go haywire at that point.  
Otherwise, the improviso and "come un bel di, di maggio" and the rest were well sung. "Su 
fui soldato" like Maddalena's aria was just played too slow and lost all of it's shape and 
propulsion, and drama.  There were many pleasures, especially Salsi, but not the Chenier I 
had been hoping for.  Just my two cents.

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