Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rigoletto overdose

2 Rigolettos in a roll, 2 days full of hunchbacks, trench coats, military uniforms, retarded virgins, nasal tenors, some good and some worse singing.

My objection on the stage director's vision of setting his Rigoletto in 1938 Milan has been expressed in a previous post even before watching the performance.
Now I revert to say that this "transposition" might had worked, if only...

Night 1 (January the 3rd)

Dimitris Platanias and Vassiliki Karayanni

Dimitris Platanias

Greek baritone Dimitris Platanias was the main reason for someone to watch the second cast. Wonderful singing line, power, feeling. His "Cortigiani..." gave me the shivers and his cantabile was mellifluous, heartbreaking, exceptionally sung. A world class Rigoletto that received a tremendous ovation at the curtain calls.

Vassiliki Karayanni (Rolando's Olympia in the recent run of Les Contes at the ROH) was definitely not what Gilda is all about. A squeeky voice, that lacked technique, volume and control, that made my ears ache with her caprile and with the constant "kicking" of the voice, and whose performance was based on fireworks: some impressive-squeeky-high notes, some good coloratura but an overall less than mediocre performance. Even worse was her acting: Is Gilda retarded? Coz she definitely acted like one...

Antonis Koroneos

Antonis Koroneos displays a beautiful, smooth lyric voice which unfortunately "carries" a lot of problems: the voice becomes hoarse more than often, and especially at the high notes his "hiss" becomes very audible. But above all, his voice is that of a Nemorino and not of the Duke. Volume and power were missing throughout his performance.

Irini Karaianni & Antonis Koroneos

Petros Magoulas as Sparafucile went unnoticed. At least he was decent. I wouldn't say the same thing for Irini Karaianni's Maddalena whose physical beauty was in contrast with the vocal (lack of) beauty.

Day 2 ( January the 4th)

Franco Vassallo

Franco Vassallo, debuting as Rigoletto, gave a memorable performance of the buffone. His singing was rough, unfocused, even out of tone
at times, but his overall interpretation had a great impact on me. Definitely not a Rigoletto to listen to, but a must-see. Power+excellent acting skills=a well deserved triumph.

Mitsopoulou & Platanias

On the other hand, Maria Mitsopoulou as Gilda had everything that Karayanni lacked: her Gilda was well sung, sweet and human without being stupid, but faced unsuccessfully quite a few high notes and coloraturas of Caro Nome and "sank" at the cadenza...All these were forgotten by the time she sang exceptionally "Tutte le feste" and her "V'ho ingannato" brought tears to many eyes.

Jean-Francois Borras

Jean-Francois Borras unfortunately was not the revelation I was expecting. He started off quite good but as time went by his singing was sounding thinner and more nasal. His "La Donna é mobile" was unstable, the cut at the passagio sounded ugly and the high notes sounded fabricate and...artificial.

Dimitri Kavrakos

Dimitri Kavrakos as Sparafucile demonstrated his world class but the signs of time are omnipresent. Nevertheless he's still an impressive singer.

No, it wasn't my imagination at the previous performance: Irini Karaianni as Maddalena was far more impressive physically than vocally.

*Kostas Mavrogenis is the voice that stroke me on that second night:
Can a Conte di Ceprano be that good??? Keep an eye on this fella...*

Giovanna/Maria Vlachopoulou

Maestro Karytinos and the Orchestra of the Greek National Opera played at their typical level. Thank God that once in a while a maestro like Carlo Montanaro comes and makes these kids shine. Let's hope that maestro Auguin will do his magic for the upcoming Tannhäuser.

Nothing to declare regarding the stage direction of N. Petropoulos. The idea was potentially good. The whole thing fit quite well in the fascist Italy concept. But just a good idea and a vision are not enough. If you have neorealism and Visconti in mind (yeeeeah, right!) stick to the details and make the audience weep. I don't think that many fathers would let their daughters die on a pallet trolley though....

All watermarked photos (C) parsifal's
Rest (C) Stefanos

1 comment:

Orfeus said...

Platanias is indeed a world class Rigoletto, following the footsteps of Bastianini. Even, dark, powerful voice from top to bottom, I attended the final performance and thought I got a glimpse of the old school. He's preparing his Gerard for Fiorentino so I hope these international appearances help him achieve the status he deserves.
Mitsopoulou was a very effective lyrical Gilda, her voice has a very fine middle register (something the other Gildas lack entirely) and if the top wasn't always equally impressive Mitsopoulou proved that Verdi isn't about Eflats. Koroneos was better in the second half but generally not a Duke to be remembered.

The orchestra was average at best and made a complete mess of ei sol dell'anima which is one of the most difficult parts of the opera to pace. Sets and costumes, terrible. The transfer to 30s Italy, pointless. Platanias deserves so much more.