LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 15.5

Help for OPERA-L Archives

OPERA-L Archives

OPERA-L Archives


Next Message | Previous Message
Next in Topic | Previous in Topic
Next by Same Author | Previous by Same Author
Chronologically | Most Recent First
Proportional Font | Monospaced Font


Join or Leave OPERA-L
Reply | Post New Message
Search Archives

Subject: Les contes d'Hoffmann from LA 3/25/17
From: Kirsten Lee <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Kirsten Lee <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:18:40 -0700

text/plain (132 lines)

There hasn't been much reporting from the left coast so here's one from LA
last night (and later maybe, one from SF Opera Lab, la voix humaine on


Last night was the prima of the Tales of Hoffmann at Los Angeles Opera.
Hoffmann was sung by Vittorio Grigolo, with highly published debut of Diana
Damrau in the role of Antonia/Stella (for some reason I was under the
impression that she was singing all four heroines mistakenly), four villains
were to be sung by her husband Nicolas Teste, staged by Marta Domingo,
conducted by her husband.


Before the curtain maestro Placido (who sang Hoffmann 99 times in 11
different productions in his career before taking up this announcement job)
came up on stage to the cheering audience. He explained that it's usually
for the bad news when someone comes up on stage before the performance (so
stop applauding audience!) 

I didn't understand everything he said but I think what I heard is that
Nicolas Teste lost his voice for 4 days, Wayne Tigges would singing the four
villains instead (which we knew already since there was an insert in the
program) however this staging involves a lot of marking and acting that the
covering artist didn't have time to familiarize himself with all so Nicolas
Teste would still "act" the role on stage and Wayne Tigges would be
providing the voice from the pit. I have heard Wayne Tigges a couple of
times in the past in SF, last time in the frighteningly realistic portrayal
of self-flagellating Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd. I do love Teste's voice
though and was very much looking forward to hearing him in more substantial
role than usual priesty roles he gets to play so I was very disappointed
that he wasn't able to perform last night. 



The staging was by Marta Domingo and typically to her style, it was
extravagant and excessive but compared to some of her other stagings I truly
dislike, I enjoyed the Luther's tavern scene and Olympia & Antonia acts.


The role of Hoffmann seems to fit Grigolo perfectly since he exudes that
manic quality of passion borderlining instability that I enjoyed so much in
Villazon. At Dorothy Chandler, where everyone usually sounds pretty big
anyway, his voice came across as really big and I was glad that he could
modulate in musically sensible way and not blasting out all the time. He
sang and danced Kleinzach to perfection, and for Corelli admirers like us,
his French diction is as good as it gets for non-native speaker.


It so happens that my last 3-4 Olympia has been all Korean sopranos
(although I've never seen Sumi Jo in this role) - last one from SF sang the
bird song hoisted up on crane above the orchestra and later roller skating
around the stage - and this LA Olympia So Yong Park was terrific in her
perfectly pitched, lovely voice showing off various ornamentations and
executed the difficult choreography with awesome acting skills. Crowd went
nuts over her during the curtain after act I. This act reminded me a bit of
Powell and Pressburger's film and must have drawn some inspiration from the
film especially the party guests scene and Olympia's makeup. 

Cochenille (wonderfully acted by Chritophe Mortagne from Comedie-Francaise)
in Act I was portrayed as C-3PO from Star Wars (supposedly another automat
invention of Spalanzani) and later as Franz in Antonia act Mortagne sang the
comic "jour et nuit je,  me mets en quartre . I can't sing, I can't dance I
lack the technical aspects." while reading what looks like NYC with HUGE
photo of Trump in front of the Stars and Stripes which he eventually tears
off then by magic transforms into an intact pages (huge photo disappeared) -
I am sure there's some not-so-hidden message there. 


The second Venice act (LAO presented the version with Giulietta before
Antonia) was my least favorite of the evening. Domingo's conducting was too
fast here such that the beauty of barcarolle was lost. I usually expect the
harp to be dominant but heard only very loud flutes and even the two voices
fizzled. (Giulietta was sung by Kate Alrich who sounded better alone later).
The set was too busy with a replica of the Grand Canal. Overall the
sets/costumes/wigs changes were so elaborate that the whole performance
lasted almost 4 hours.



Finally the last act with Damrau as Antonia and her frequent collaboration
with Grigolo finally provided another vocal splendor of the evening in the
duet, both a bit histrionic but fitting in a way. There was an excellent
contribution from Sharmay Musacchio singing Antonia's mom's voice. Kate
Lindsey seems to be the go-to Nicklausse of this generation and although her
mimicking of Olympia (recycled antics from the met) was a bit annoying but
her rendition of violin aria was beautiful and overall she was a solid


It won't be fair to judge Wayne Tigges' singing given the circumstances in
which he was saving the day. It wasn't terrible, it wasn't great but I hope
he would return to LA in a regularly scheduled role and with plenty of time
for preparations and warm up. Given he must have not been feeling well,
Nicolas Teste faithfully acted on stage, mouthing all the words and
understandably this staging required a lot of elaborate costume and wig
changes for the four villains that it would have been unreasonable to have
the cover to pick it up easily and follow. To his credit, Teste was very
funny as Copplelius - too bad I am still sullen that I didn't get to hear
his diamond aria. 


When he's well and back on stage, someone from LA please report on his four



OPERA-L on Facebook:
To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message to [log in to unmask]
containing only the words:  SIGNOFF OPERA-L
To stay subscribed but TURN OFF mail, send a message to
[log in to unmask] containing only the words:  SET OPERA-L NOMAIL
Modify your settings:

Back to: Top of Message | Previous Page | Main OPERA-L Page



CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager