Friday, 19 November 2010
Dog and diva
In this week of bizarrely contrasted operatic first nights, it should be the other way round, of course, but it doesn't sound so good. The diva is Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, purportedly a star vehicle for Angela Gheorghiu. Yet what we saw last night was a good company show, with plenty of quiet perceptiveness about the 18th century gulf between actors and aristocracy in David McVicar's production, beautifully designed by Charles Edwards. It certainly didn't make me regret taking the decision to spend four weeks on the opera with my City Lit students.
There's Gheorghiu's actress above in the Royal Opera photo by Catherine Ashmore, being attended to by Alessandro Corbelli's sympathetic theatre manager among others while Michaela Schuster's bitch princess looks on. You can read what I made of it in my Arts Desk review.
And what about Kaufmann? Well, I had the same reservations last night as I do about his new so-called verismo disc - that the top is infallibly secure, with its authentic Italianate sob, but the middle is a bit dark, baritonal and slightly in the throat, not quite the sunshine and roses I was hoping for in this rep. But as I wrote, it will be terrific for Lohengrin, Florestan and Siegmund. And eventually, let's hope, for Tristan and Siegfried. The boy has the looks, the musicality and probably the strength.
A rather different attention is being paid up top to poor old stray Sharik in the De Nederlandse Opera/Complicite premiere of A Dog's Heart earlier this year (both photos by Monika Rittershaus). I got to know Raskatov's score preparing an article for the ENO programme, and what an elaborate piece of clockwork it is: a bit like Prokofiev's collage technique, with no idea resting for more than a few pages, but quite a few repeats. Whether it'll hang together as good music theatre remains to be seen - and I will see tomorrow, since it's the first night at the Coli. Before that, I'm joining a conversation in the Apple Store on Covent Garden Piazza, chaired by Christopher Cook with the brothers McBurney and sundry performers as the other guests. It's free, so do come along at 6pm on Saturday.