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Coloration my world « parterre field

That distinction was essential to notice (particularly for you, pricey prickly readers!) as throughout that 35 years “reign” of John Copley’s trusted previous staging, SF Opera certainly offered a season with Marta Domingo’s manufacturing (borrowed from LA Opera) in 2009 as a automobile for Anna Netrebko and Charles Castronovo.

Billed as “San Francisco Opera legacy manufacturing” within the press launch—following the 2018 Tosca —created by the identical manufacturing workforce in related trend—it was designed particularly for the Battle Memorial stage and constructed “to be sturdy sufficient for quite a few revivals over a number of a long time”.

Whereas having some considerations over the ever-changing viewers’s tastes, I did nevertheless applaud the financially smart move to embark on creating “legacy productions” for well-known operas. Opera staging is an costly endeavor; thus, having regular, reliable, and reusable productions make a whole lot of sense. I hope that when the system is effectively established, SF Opera even considers renting out such productions to generate extra income.

The problem of getting such legacy productions is to discover a blissful medium between productions that may stand the take a look at of time and which can be sturdy and straightforward sufficient to keep up over a (lengthy) time period (a long time?). Whereas I did have some reservations on the 2018 Tosca (notably on the subject of the sight strains of Robert Innes Hopkins’ units in 2018 and far much less of an issue in the 2021 revival, I used to be blissful to report that this time the manufacturing workforce struck gold with this stunning and unassuming staging!

Director Shawna Lucey—who additionally oversaw the ultimate Copley revival in 2017—introduced sensitivity and nuance in her decidedly typical tackle the story of Paris’ most well-known courtesan, with sufficient quirkiness to make it fascinating (extra on that later). In her imaginative and prescient, the viewers was transported again to the nineteenth century with an explosion of colours for each Hopkins’ costumes and set items.

I personally cherished the usage of placing colours on stage—notably on Violetta’s defining costumes—and the way Michael Clark’s lighting appeared to all the time mirror no matter coloration Violetta wore, from the daring cerulean blue in Act 1, fearless crimson pink within the Flora’s get together Act 2, to the jaw-dropping monochromatic shade of the ultimate act—the place the tragic ending appeared to have sucked all the colours from the stage! You may get a glimpse of the metamorphosis of the colours within the trailer.

La traviata, and Alexander Dumas fils’ play La Dame aux camélias the place it was based mostly on, have been each influenced by real-life famed courtesan Marie Duplessis, and Hopkins’ tall, ethereal static units for Act 1 and three have been modeled after Duplessis’ Parisian condominium. In distinction, Violetta’s nation home of Act 2 was depicted as a peaceable greenhouse, the place Violetta’s short-lived happiness was shattered with the arrival of Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father.

A lot had been mentioned in regards to the feminist nature of Lucey’s interpretation of La Traviata, notably in an illuminating SF Examiner article. Essentially the most outstanding show of ladies’s empowerment was on the finish of Act 2, proper after Alfredo denounced Violetta. One after the other, each single girl within the Refrain/supernumeraries parted means with their spouses and sided with Violetta, making it a very thrilling impact, particularly within the put up Roe v Wade world. Who mentioned opera isn’t political??

Nonetheless, probably the most thrilling a part of Lucey’s path got here throughout the gender bending Flora’s get together in Act 2, the place Marchese d’Obigny (naughtily acted by Timothy Murray) wearing pink tutu beneath his tuxedo, and dancers (choreographed by John Heginbotham) wore half-man/half-woman costumes parading on the stage. It offered a short respite in between the excessive drama of Act 2 Scene 1 and the aforementioned denouncement scene.

If I would nitpick, I needed the transition from Scene 1 and a pair of throughout Act 2 that evening was dealt with extra shortly, because the viewers already began to depart their seats considering it was intermission (regardless of the supertitle warning of “a short pause”), leading to a bit chaos at first of Scene 2, particularly in Orchestra stage!

Whereas the manufacturing facet was wonderful, what really elevated the efficiency final Friday was the music making, notably with the involvement of the three leads, all of which have been making home debuts that evening.

Ever since her position debut in Simon Stone’s fashionable manufacturing on the Paris Opera in 2019, soprano Fairly Yende had made Violetta her calling card as she sang it from Barcelona and Vienna to London and Naples. It was typically thought that Violetta required three totally different sorts of soprano to sing it correctly; on Friday Yende unified her interpretation of the position by using her pure lyrical voice in a means that saved gaining energy because the evening progressed.

A bel canto virtuoso, she had no issues navigating the coloratura passages of “Sempre libera”—even capping the cabaletta with excessive E-flat—however extra curiously was her tackle the aria, which was saturated with a way of eager for a greater life, making it much less brilliant and exuberant than common however extra introspective in a means.

Much more fascinating was her appearing of the position; her Violetta nearly felt like an outlier, she knew her days have been numbered, and she or he desperately regarded for another of being courtesan.

In a means, she completely realized what Lucey meant in her Director’s Observe: “Our new design delves into Violetta’s life on show, together with her solely respite being the nation home of Act II. Right here we glimpse her therapeutic by love for mere moments earlier than the calls for of this society crash by her Backyard of Eden within the type of Alfredo’s father.”

Violetta’s shattered desires of happiness got here by in her voice all through Act 2 as she went increasingly determined; “Amami, Alfredo, amami quant’io t’amo” was notably devastating as she knew that there could be no blissful ending from this level onwards. By the point “Addio, del passato” arrived in Act 3, the viewers held their breath alongside her in a really chilling impact. No marvel she acquired the loudest cheer throughout the bows, and she or he regarded extraordinarily humbled and touched by the viewers’s reactions.

In an excessive distinction, tenor Jonathan Tetelman turned Alfredo right into a hot-blooded younger man, a person that was ruled solely by his coronary heart and never his head. Along with his tall, darkish, good-looking look and a voice that rang clear and brilliant all through, he had no issues driving over the orchestra throughout the large climaxes. Whereas there have been occasions that I needed for a bit extra softness on his half, however he offered a healthful tackle the man-child character Alfredo.

Italian baritone Simone Piazzola really impressed me as Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father. It was so refreshing to listen to the position sang this effectively, stuffed with nuance and heat. Studying a a lot youthful Giorgio than common, his tackle the position was fairly totally different from the same old lovely-dovey paternal intuition.

There have been sure darkish undertones in his voice, nearly sinister, as if his Giorgio manipulatively knew precisely what he was doing when he approached Violetta and (afterward) Alfredo in Act 2. His “Di Provenza il mar” notably introduced the home down! In flip, this made his remorse in Act 3 much more heartfelt and shattering!

As common, the remainder of the comprimario roles have been dealt with handsomely. Veteran bass-baritone Philip Skinner, who was awarded SF Opera Medal on October 30 (over the last efficiency of Dialogues of the Carmelites) for his numerous service to SF Opera, made a terrifying Baron Douphol, whereas Taylor Raven, Adam Lau and Elisa Sunshine shone brilliant as Flora, Physician Grenvil and Annina (Violetta’s maid) respectively.

SF Music Director Eun Solar Kim carried out the orchestra in an thrilling method, highlighting the numerous totally different dance facets of the rating. The orchestra, too, appeared to be responding very effectively underneath her path; really an incredible signal as this was the inaugural efficiency of the deliberate multi-year Verdi undertaking. I positively stay up for listening to Kim conducting extra Verdi (and Wagner!) sooner or later!

All in all, it was an incredible evening on the Opera final Friday evening (which appeared to be the operating theme for the Centennial Season up to now), and I stay up for experiencing this manufacturing once more within the close to future. Hopefully Lucey (and different future revival administrators) can have extra methods up their sleeves to make the present updated and fascinating for future viewers!

On a lighter observe, SF Opera actually welcomes viewers to the immersive The Traviata Encounter on November 19, the place they will expertise Act 1 first hand!

Pictures: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera



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