Memorable night of actually grand opera

Natalie Aroyan as Adriana Lecouvreur. Photograph: Keith Saunders.

Music / “Adriana Lecouvreur,” directed by Rosetta Cucchi. At Sydney Opera Home till March 7. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.

OPERA Australia has assembled a dream forged to carry out Francesco Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur” in a lavish manufacturing co-produced with Teatro Comunale Di Bologna and Opera Oviedo.

It consists of famous person Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho, Romanian mezzo-soprano Carmen Topciu, American tenor Michael Fabiano and Italian baritone Giorgio Caoduro.

Think about the collective consumption of breath when Tahu Matheson took the stage on opening evening to announce that sadly, as a result of she had developed a nasty cough, Ermonela Jaho, was unable to carry out. However earlier than anybody may react, he shortly added that Natalie Aroyan had been persuaded to step in and carry out the demanding title function, including the reassurance that she was throughout the function and the viewers was in for an thrilling efficiency. He was not improper.

Based mostly on the lifetime of French actress Adrienne Lecouvreur the occasions portrayed within the opera are largely fictional, and the libretto absolutely among the many most complicated ever written. Rosetta Cucchi’s idea for this manufacturing, the place every of the 4 acts happen  in a distinct time interval, does little to make clear the storyline. In actual fact, it makes it tougher to maintain monitor of the varied characters.

Nevertheless, her idea does present alternative for some pretty settings, stunning costumes and a succession of memorable moments to spotlight the gorgeous melodies and incidental music strewn by the opera which conductor Leonardo Sini celebrates along with his delicate, detailed conducting of the Opera Australia orchestra.

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The opera opens with a bustling back-stage scene on the Comedie-francaise in 1732. Right here Adriana (Natalie Aroyan) is revealed dramatically rehearsing her traces for her look as Roxanne in Racine’s “Bajazet”.  The stage supervisor Michonnet (Giorgio Caoduro)) is attempting to pluck up the braveness to declare his love for Adriana when she reveals that she’s in love with Maurizio (Michael Fabiano), a good-looking officer who conveniently arrives to declare his love for her. In response, Adriana presents him a posy of violets. These violets change into the thread, and a essential part for the remainder of the story.

No room for extra particulars of the complicated plot right here. Ample to know that Natalie Aroyan was merely magnificent because the diva Lecouvreur.  She was surprisingly assured, given the circumstances, and acted with assault and confidence, delivering her declamatory opening traces with aptitude then captivated along with her lustrous soprano within the opera’s best-known aria, “Lo son I’umile ancollar” (I’m the standard servant of the artistic spirit).

Matching her, as Adriana’s arch-enemy and rival for Maurizio’s affections, Carmen Topciu  was equally spectacular each vocally and dramatically, her darkly hued mezzo completely contrasting and complementing  Aroyan’s velvety soprano.  Topciu’s second act solo “Acerba volutta, dolce tortura” throughout which she expresses her fears that Maurizio could also be untrue, was one of many vocal highlights of the night.

Good-looking and heroic as Maurizio, the article of Adriana’s affections, Michael Fabiano thrilled along with his opening aria, “la dolcissima effigie”, totally justifying his status as one of many best tenors round. His voice additionally successfully contrasted with that of Giorgio Caoduro, because the tragic Michonnet, notably within the remaining act when the dying Adriana refuses to recognise Michonnet, as a substitute mistaking him for Maurizio.

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It was on this stark scene that Cucchi’s idea was at its strongest, permitting the viewers to grasp Adriana’s psychological confusion by the intelligent use of video pictures.

Sturdy supporting performances by Virgilio Marino (the Abbe), Richard Anderson (the Prince), Anthony Mackey (Quinault), Adam Participant (Poisson) Jane Ede (Mlle Jouvenot), Angela Hogan (Mlle Dangerville) and the ever-reliable Opera Australia Refrain enhanced the motion. Tiziano Santi’s settings which included a romantic candle-lit villa for  Act 2; the lavish costume ball throughout which aerialist Brendan Irving’s thrilling silks act, and a spectacular Loie Fuller model dance carried out by choreographer Luisa Baldinetti, all contributed considerably a memorable night of actually grand opera.



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Ian Meikle, editor