Saturday, May 3, 2008

Simon Boccanegra in Athens. A few comments on the dress rehearsal

The curtain is about to rise for Act II at the Athens Megaron.
David Alden on the left standing

It' s been more than 10 years since the last time we saw Simon Boccanegra in Athens.
And what a show that was! It was Kostas Paskalis' farewell to the operatic stage and the late Paskalis had delivered a Simon so intense, so wonderful vocally and so majestic on stage that one wouldn't assume that this was a man's farewell to opera.

This time it' s the turn of a young greek baritone to portray Simon, il corsaro, Dimitris Tiliakos.

This new Simon Boccanegra is a co-production of the Athens Megaron
and the Greek National Opera and it features David Alden (you know who! the Steven King of opera!) as the director, David Fielding for the sets/costumes and it's main vocal attraction is Ángela Marambio as Amelia Grimaldi/Maria.

Last night i witnessed the dress rehearsal (and i'll also witness opening night tomorrow) and even if i wouldn't like to criticise a prova generale, i think i could make some general comments...

Ángela Marambio (Audience prize, Singer of the World, Cardiff 2003), sang an exquisite Amelia (her Come in quest' ora bruna was of celestial beauty!) and received the audience's thunderous applause and bravas.

The production is cold though impressive. I disliked the set of the Prologo (stage cut in two, white half, black half, yeaaah right, i get it, i get it, it's a yin and yang thing) but found very interesting the set for Act 1.

Dimitris Tiliakos started off quite badly, his voice sounded strange, wobbly, unstable and he looked so stressed. But as the minutes were coming by, he gained confidence and i can say for sure that he 'll be terrific at the premiere (if he aborts his anxiety).

Tiliakos and Marambio (Simon and Amelia) look like brother and sister...
How old was he when he had her? 3?

The rest of the cast sounded OK. I didn't particularly like Francesco Demuro 's nasal sound (Gabriele Adorno).

Carlo Montanaro made the Orchestra sound very good, a Mission Impossible actually if you know how the Greek National Opera Orchestra sounds like.

More to come, after the premiere.

Just to get an idea, here's Dimitris Tiliakos singing il Conte di Luna, in Athens 2003

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