lunes, 23 de abril de 2012

A fiery Clemenza in Toulouse

Foto: Patrice Nin

Ruggero Meli

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791): La clemenza di Tito. Opera seria in two acts, K.621. Libretto by Metastase adapted by Caterino Mazzolà  created on September 6th 1791 at Prague National Theater.  Production created in July 2011 at Théâtre de l’Archevêché in Aix-en-Provence in coproduction with Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse and Marseille opera.  Toulouse, Théâtre du Capitole, Friday March 9th, premiere. Woo-Kyung Kim : Tito Vespasiano ; Tamar Iveri : Vitellia ; Anne-Catherine Gillet : Servilia ; Maite Beaumont : Sesto ; Paula Murrihy : Annio ; Andreas Bauer : Publio.  Orchestre national du Capitole. Chœur du Capitole (Alfonso Caiani). Conductor : David Syrus. Staging and scenography: David Mc Vicar (Marie Lambert). Costumes: Jenny Tiramani. Lights: Jennifer Tipton.

This production comes from last year´s Aix-en-Provence festival but with a completely renewed cast. A simple setting and fine costumes from the renaissance are enough to captivate the audience. Indeed David McVicar doesn’t need flamboyant accessories or extravagant acting to keep the plot in a tight tension and keep the audience captivated. However this wouldn’t have been possible without a strong cast. Indeed all the singers were fully involved, intensely and convincingly playing their characters, and leading us into the heart of the drama: where guilt was the key and tormenting element for the characters throughout the performance. The audience held its breath and trembleb for Sesto. It gave the impression it was following an exciting movie full of unexpected situations and an engrossing plot. Tamar Iveri turned out to be a sensational expressive and powerful Vitellia; streams of fire seemed to come out of her mouth ! She could artfully manipulate poor Sesto to achieve her ends but then her guilt torn her into near madness. Maite Beaumont sang with passion and offered her warm and beautiful velvet mezzo voice to her moving Sesto. A pity she lacked at times projection but this “weakness” enhanced her frail character.  The big surprise came from tenor Woo-Kyung Kim in the title role, who posesses a strong powerful, refined and vibrant mozartian voice. His Tito was not see for once, as a weak spirit who instead inspired respect through his noble singing and decisions. A revelation, and a voice to follow ! As for the secondary roles, these were not sacrified at all, on the contrary we were lucky enough to hear one of the most charming soprano voice of the moment: Anne-Catherine Gillet. Her aria “S’altro che lacrime” was one of the highlights of the whole performance and it was frustrating she had so little to sing ! Her soft simple singing was devinely moving. Gillet has often sung here in Toulouse and she could have claimed for a bigger role, but it is also a challenge to accept a small part and turn it into a blessing. Annio was amazingly convincing and even in such a small part Paula Murrihy displayed a strong character. The baritone Andreas Bauer did a fine job too. The conducting was a bit hurrying the singers in the first part, while some tempi were slow in the 2nd part, but David Syrus conducted with passion and was fully involved into the performance. Hopefully it should improve after this premiere.  To put it in a nutshell, a near dream cast in a thrilling staging that we would now love to hear in another Mozart opera: Idomeneo !

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