Monday, June 16, 2008

Carlo il sommo imperatore.

Loyal reader "Popp Fanatic" has posted a brilliant review on the ROH Don Carlo of the 14th of June:

Just came back from tonight's (14th) CG performance. I tend to agree with the majority of the critics, and judging by the curtain call reception, most of the audience was of like mind with me.

Production: Meh. Indifferent. Best described by "big deal!". Sometimes the sets & lighting are inspired (Carlo V's tomb), sometimes they just don't work (the garden in Act 2). In general falls in the trap of a lot recent CG productions (e.g Tosca) of not deciding if it is a traditional or a modern symbolist production and ends up as neither. Not impressed at all, but not a disaster either.

Acting: Generally good. As is usual in CG, the theatrical side is heavily emphasized but results are uneven. Poplavaskaya, Keenlyside & Furlanetto are acting standouts but Villazon hams it up annoyingly at times.

Musical comments:

Orchestra: Brilliant.

Furlanetto: Superb. Best of them all. The audience reaction after the soliloquy can only be described as a "roar".

Keenlyside: Perfect as always. Superlatives fail me.

Ganassi: I really liked her actually. I don't care if she's considered "too light" or "too Rossinian", I thought she really worked well for this tough role.

Halfvarson: Very very good.

Lloyd: Underpowered. Shame, but it seems he's really past it, even for such short roles.

Pops: Typical performance by her. Excellent stage presence; her looks are irrelavant, she may be striking but not pretty IMO, but she moves really well. Beautiful timbre in mid range. OK projection but nothing extraordinary. Good technique. BUT threadbare top which gets badly exposed again. I didn't find that she got "tired" in a Act 5 as some critics have commented; I just thought that because she has such difficulty reaching the high notes (true everytime I've heard her, this is my 4th time I've caught her live) she comes out "bleached" in tone.

Villazon: First time I've heard him live. Not impressed at all. He's not bad by any means, but he's not that amazing either. I find his acting over-the-top at best, hammy at worst. He had some trouble with the top notes, but he was announced to be suffering from an allergic reaction so I'll put it down to that. OK projection most of the time (he's been accused of having a small voice, but I've heard worse) but got drowned out by the orchestra occasionally. Nothing terrible to pin on him in general, but he hasn't won me over as a fan. Perhaps next time round.

Conclusion: good effort by CG but neither the best show they've put out this year (Trav, Elisir, Iphigenie were all miles better, didn't catch Tosca), nor justifying the hype or the atrocious prices (190 quid? Please!).


Anonymous said...

On Sat. June 28, Don Carlo on BBC radio, it's great... but to morrow June 27 there is also the concert of Schönbrunn with Domingo, Netrebko and Villazon - TV broadcast on ORF 2 and ZDF - 21h 15 to 23h 15.
Will anybody commit to record this program ?
In France: Nothing !
If there is a "wonderful" possibility to get it, please let me know

Parsifal said...

We ll have both Catherine! DOnt worry!