Sunday 21 June 2015

Simon Boccanegra without Placido in Hamburg 2015-06-10

Placido Domingo's sister has recently died. I do not know much except as she was in ICU in Boston the whole clan was there and Placido cleaned his schedule for his beloved sister. He has now said he will not sing any comical roles like Gianni Schicchi. I understand and as I was in Hamburg seeing this production I was relieved for Placido as this role is heart-crunching (propbably not the right word in English but I hope you understand the meaning still).

2015-06-10 Simon Boccanegra (Verdi),Hamburgische Staatsoper

Simon Boccanegra = George Gagnidze
Maria Boccanegra (Amelia) = Barbara Frittoli
Jacopo Fiesco = John Tomlinson
Gabriele Adorno = Giuseppe Filianoti
Paolo Albiani = Robert Bork
Pietro = Alin Anca
Un Capitano dei Balestrieri = Daniel Todd
Un' Ancella di Amelia = Anat Edri

Simone Young, conductor
Philharmoniker Hamburg
Chor der Hamburgischen Staatsoper

LICHT: Wolfgang Göbbel
CHOR: Florian Csizmadia

How are we supposed to understand this opera in this production? Modern costumes but it is not an update really. The people are not modern. We are in Genua at the time of Boccanegra. At the prelude is Simon Boccanegra dead by poison surrounded by his daughter and her husband Gabriele Adorno. And the we go back in time to the Prologue where Simone will become Doge and his Maria is dead... 

It is a hard role to play Simon Boccanegra. This time even harder since the director wants us to see it as though Simon is just reliving it with a double playing his part. The double do most of his acting in the room that we are to think is the mirror. In the end the second Boccanegra double is needed too. The singer has to react as though the other person is there in his mind, while the double is the one acting with the other singers. There is an opening in the ceiling for the comet to come clashing down. First we have a whole (prologue), then we the stone in the whole, then half to the floor and in the scene where Boccanegra dies, the stone is on the floor (disaster has struck).

In all the other versions of this opera, Maria Fiesco is in her father's palace, she is sick and in the end dying. Here she is a mother desperate for her child but her father caring is suffocating for her so she escapes her prison by suicide just before her lover coulf rescue her. Fiesco is not a benevolent father here, he is seriously misguided in his "love". Maria, the ghost, lives on. She is on stage, too. 

Interaction in this production is often more symbolic than realistic. But all the singers and acters do well. John Tomlinson was Fiesco using his own age also as acting and singing well. George Gagnidze was amazing as Boccanegra. Barbara Frittoli was a great Amelia. Giuseppe Filanoti was a wonderful Gabriele Adorno. And so on.

Simone Young conducted.

Bravi, tutti!