Tuesday, 23 July 2013

My first 3 days in Italy (Summer Opera Holidays 2013)

I arrived early in Milano Malpensa Airport. I know where to go to get to the MalpensaExpress. The train goes directly to Milano Centrale which means it stops at least at 3 stations before Centrale. And then I have to buy the tickets to Macerata. Lucikily I did look it up before traveling but I did it on Deutsche Bahn. I should have bought all my train tickets on trenitalia.com before traveling. OK. In Bologna Centrale I have to change train and now I have no seating. My back was killing me until finally I was allowed a seat. Heaven. My back could heal again. Then after all the trains I was in Macerata. An old, beautiful city but I never had time to explore or take many photos,

IL TROVATORE, Macerata 2013-07-20. It was the premiere. It was confusing. Sometimes with great ideas but not so effectual, sometimes just not the right idea. Aquiles Machado was Manrico and Enkelejda Shkosa was Azucena. They made it worth a trip. Shkosa was a great Azucena. Aquiles Machado was a wonderful, lovely Manrico. The soprano that sang Leonora became better as the evening progressed. I found the baritone that sang Conte di Luna not as good as the rest, neither was Ferrando. Inez was good. 

Why was there children present whenever Ferrando was telling the story? What was it about the Di Luna men that made them sometimes crawl like animals? Azucena's mother and the dead child of Azucena came and went onstage. That worked. But it would be confusing for anyone completely new to the story of IL TROVATORE.

The stage in Macreta arena sferisterio is too long. And to have 2 things a one time at both ends of the stage was not a great idea. You had to choose where to look. 

On thing is for sure Azucena, Enkelejda Shkosa was the highlight and she was the one that took the conductor and director onstage for the applaus. And Enkelejda Shkosa left the stage with her stage son, Aquiles Machado. Bravi!

After Macerata train travel to Verona. It was supposed to be only 3 trains but then I took the wrong train (this costed me 50 euro extra). A short stop in Padova and then finally Verona.

AIDA, Arena di Verona 2013-07-21. Regie by Fura del Baus. Hui He was an amazing AIDA, Jorge de Leon was a lovely Radames and Daniela Barcellona excelled as Amneris. 

The costumes was great to OK. Aida is on Egypt so why not make an extra story about the British Museum taking artifacts from Egypt. Well, first because this is opera staged and no film, so it is not working nor is it needed. The Regista must really love moving heavy objects around because it was happening all the time also at delicate musical times. And it really did not add anything of worth to the opera. Only distractions. The crocodiles in act 2 was also a distraction. Mechanical animals, camels and elephants. Cute, but... Was the whipping of the Ethiopian prisioners really necessary and why dressed like that? And all those in orange suits... 

Musically speaking it was a triumph, especially the 3 protagonists and orchestra and chorus. The ballett, no. Really, no. Hui He carried the opera. The was the focus point. Alberto Mastromarino was a superb Amonasro. I saw a wonderful AIDA in 2005, please, bring it back!!!!

From Verona to Milano. One train only. And only 1h 22mins. Lovely hotel. And then La Scala.

UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, Teatro alla Scala 2013-07-22. 

The Boston version. But now updated to 2013. Vote for Riccardo 2013, incorrotta gloria!! Marianne Cornetti sang Ulrica, and just look at her, blonde and dressed in white. No African-American praying to Satan here. Ulrica is here a miracle worker and we see it, blind see, people rise up from walking again. Marcelo Alvarez was stupendous as Riccardo. Luckily he was not made into a blonde like poor Amelia.  One could hardly recognise Sondra Radvanovsky with her blonde hair. Making her into a desperate middle-aged women with brown skirts and brown trousers. She was great!! Oscar was in this production a secretary and without any doubt a woman, a young woman. No boy here. In  2013 no man can just kill his wife for adultery and think it is going to be right. And really it was in this scene the regie got most things wrong. The child is inside with the father and Amelia is singing her heart out outside. Who can hear it? The change of heart plausible. The child there as Tom and Sam arrive... No, I don't think they got it right. Un ballo in maschera, but nobody is carrying masks or dressed as anyone other than themselves. A play with placards of Riccardo in human size. Then Riccardo dies but first he becomes a ghost and Amelia is mouthing what he is singing as she is reading a paper. Now, that end worked. BUT!!!!!!

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