Tuesday, 3 February 2015

From Valencia to London, and it is still January 2015 (Andrea Chenier, ROH 2015-01-31)

Wonderful weather in Valencia and 2 performances of Luisa Fernanda by Federico Moreno Torroba. And London? Windy and some rain but that was not the worst, delays in The Tube (subway) that was the worst for me with London. Night bus to Oslo Gardermoen Airport, and then Norwegian Air Shuttle to Gatwick Airport. A 2 hours flight but in London it was only 1 hour later. Back home it would be still 2 hours flight but arriving 3 hours later. (CET in Oslo, GMT in London). 

My hotel in London was close to Victoria station because both train and coach (bus) went from Gatwick to Victoria. I choose train, Gatwick Express, 30 minutes ride and normally the train goes with 15 minutes between trains, but this weekend it was 30 minutes inbetween. From Victoria it would have been just a straight road to my hotel but I got lost using google maps and had to ask a policeman for help. But I loved my hotel in Belgrave Road. One could almost call it Hotel Road, because it was hotels all the way and in between some normal homes. My hotel was closer to Pimlico subway station. Victoria line was my line. And normally one would just take Victoria to Green Park and then change for Piccadilly line to Covent Garden. 

On Saturday January 31st 2015 Green Park was a nightmare. Trouble earlier in King's Cross created delays and Piccadilly was in difficulties. So many people trying to go forward and sometime there was a dead-end and going back was hard too. So I gave up and back to Victoria Station and some food and drink there. Resting in my hotel. Still I had to go to Royal Opera House Covent Garden to get my ticket and to see Andrea Chenier. So back to Victoria Station I went and took a Black Cab (taxi). It was nice and relaxing.

2015-01-31 Andrea Chenier (Giordano), Royal Opera House (London)

Andrea Chénier - Jonas Kaufmann
Carlo Gérard - Željko Lučić
Maddalena di Coigny - Eva-Maria Westbroek
Bersi, her maid - Denyce Graves
The Countess of Coigny - Rosalind Plowright
Madelon - Elena Zilio
Roucher - Roland Wood
Mathieu, a sans-culotte - Adrian Clarke
The Incredible - Carlo Bosi
The Abbot - Peter Hoare
The novelist Pietro Fléville - Peter Coleman-Wright
Fouquier Tinville, the Public Prosecutor  -
Eddie Wade
Schmidt - Jeremy White
Dumas - Yuriy Yurchuk
Major Domo - Dominic Barrand
Antonio Pappano, conductor
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera Chorus
Concert Master - Peter Manning

Director - David McVicar
Set design - Robert Jones
Costume designs - Jenny Tiramani
Lighting design - Adam Silverman
Movement - Andrew George

This was a very much traditional Andrea Chenier but not done in a lazy way. I found it elegant and profound. It had a reality feel. What a great treat it was to have Rosalind Plowright, herself once a famous Maddalena, as Comtesse Coigny, Maddalena's mother, and the great mezzo Denyce Graves as Bersi, Denyce Graves who is famous for her Carmen and Dalila!!! Sadly I did not see them at the final bow after the opera. 

Rosalind Plowright sang Maddalena opposite Jose Carreras' Chenier in 1984 when this opera came back after more than 50 years absence. What I loved here is that one can see in this new ROH production that the Comtesse Coigny is really Mother of Maddalena. Not just a foolish aristocrate but a mother. Denyce Graves as Bersi is here much more a friend of Maddalena, a close friend, not a simple servant. And I love that. I love that there is real dedication between Maddalena and Bersi. It makes me understand Bersi's dedication to Maddalena much better. This Bersi is smart and resilient. Denyce Graves was such a joy to see and hear. I love Bersi!! Brava, Denyce Graves!!! Brava, Rosalind Plowright!

Jonas Kaufmann, I guess you want me to gush over the tenor as they all do. I won't do that but he sang so well this night so I almost ready to call him a tenor, but not Tenor with big T, yet, not for me. Eva-Maria Westbroek, she really filled the role of Maddalena di Coigny. A superb pair, Westbroek and Kaufmann!!

Željko Lučić as Carlo Gerard was more subtle than I would have expected after seeing him as Jago in Otello in Berlin. Still it worked, I could find sympathy for this Gerard.

Another thing I want to mention is that Idia Legray had a small girl who was there during the sentencing with an relative. Mother and child tries to hug but soldiers tears them apart. When Maddalena and Gerard come to prision, Gerard carries the young child. And we see mother and child meet again and go out with Gerard protecting them.

For reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com

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