Monday, April 27, 2009

I Puritani hits Athens after Amsterdam

I Puritani
World premiere: Paris, 1835

Greek premiere: Thessaloniki, 2006

Is it really that strange that the greek premiere of I Puritani
took about 180 years to take place?

Is it that strange that the athenian premiere of I Puritani
took place just a few days ago?

Face it. I Puritani is not the most powerful drama in operatic history.
It's a typical bel-canto fairy tale - and a quite boring one- without the power of Norma, Bolena, Lucia etc etc.

Stage director Francisco Negrin had nevertheless good intentions but the result didn't make justice to his vision.

“I am desperately trying to find the madness in that particular scene, to no avail. I think that Elvira’s words and verses might even make her the only sane person in this opera. All the other characters are mixed up in political intrigue and the endless war and only call her crazy in order to put her down. In reality, Elvira, the leading character, sings about love and not war.”

Stage-directors must one day cope with the fact that, people go to operas like I Puritani for a very certain reason:
Bellini's ethereal music
and the singing. Not for them.

The result was quite impressive, the sets by Es Devlin as well, even if the constant changes of sets didn't fortify the drama but instead commanded the audience's attention as did the mechanical noise produced during the changes.

To the point:

With a post that carries the title "The future looks bright",
Aprile Milo makes reference to the Athens Puritani
and especially tenor Bryan Hymel and soprano Eglise Gutierrez:

Despite a prehistoric attempt at conducting Bellini, with no hint of understanding the style from the maestro, these two young voices triumph in beauty and really great singing.

Tenor Bryan Hymel’s beautiful and heartfelt “A te o cara….” from Bellini’s I Puritani- with a fearless Db that sounds like everyone else’s high C, meaning no falsetto here but a full chest Db. Amazing…..and Eglisse Gutierrez ethereal piani with an interior crescendo-diminuendo that is ravishing. The future with these two very young talents who none the less are trying to be expressive and show their great talents, looks very bright indeed. Bravi!!

Watch Bryan Hymel sing "A te o cara" on opening night.

La Millo has spoken.

Hymel's Arturo might not have reached yet it's maturity, and some attempts in the stratospheric high notes (talking about D's and F's here!) might not always be successful , but boy, what a promising, impressive, meaty voice-nothing like the mosquito-voiced tenors who usually sing Arturo.
Peak moment: His noble, heart-breaking "Credeasi misera", it's first verse sung piano, while on his back, wounded, in Elvira's hands (didn't I tell you? In Negrin's Puritani, Arturo is killed by Riccardo..).

Watch Bryan Hymel in "Son salvo..."

Eglise Gutierrez was a memorable, almost flawless Elvira, singing with pathos and sensitivity, demonstrating her rare vocal charisma. Her peak moment: not the wonderful fireworks as one would expect- great as they may have been, but her breathtaking "Vieni al tempio".

Italian Barihunk Giorgio Caoduro, sang an impressive Riccardo, with his round, sonorous baritone, looked totally at ease on stage and received a storm of applause after his high A sostenuta-like-there's-no-tomorrow at "Suoni la tromba".

Balint Szabó was a fierce Giorgio, powerful though never vulgar, Tassos Apostolou was a noble Gualtiero and Irini Karajanni was an ideal Enrichetta.

Watch Giorgio Caoduro and Balint Szabo in
Il rival salvar tu dei"& "Suoni la tromba"

Maestro's Yurkevich sense of belcanto didn't particularly impress me but the orchestra of the Greek National Opera sounded quite good, so did the chorus (that unfortunately was often out of tempo).

Find below a foto-album with the most important moments of the performance:


Anonymous said...

The director ( Negrin ) should go home and think if it is about time he changed profession. He does not like opera and does not understand how it works. He only wants to earn more money and be a celebrity!

Scarpias said...




mahler76 said...

περιμένω την αυριανή μέρα με ανυπομονησία. για να δούμε και κυρίως να ακούσουμε. Καλή σου μέρα.

Anonymous said...

Δηλαδή κάποιος που δεν έχει υπόψη του το έργο θα νομίζει ότι πράγματι ο Αρτούρο πεθαίνει στο τέλος. Γιατί μας υποβάλουν σε τέτοια βασανιστήρια, ιδίως αφού τα έργα παίζονται για πρώτη φορά στην Ελλάδα?
Στην παράσταση της Τρίτης το κοινό δεν πήρε χαμπάρι ότι το έργο τελείωσε!
Πολύ καλές φωνές
Να ξαναφωνάξουν τον Bryan Hymel για να δούμε και έναν Καβαραντόσσι της προκοπής.
Θ. Ζερβόπουλος

Parsifal said...

κε. Ζερβόπουλε, σε λιγες εβδομάδες το λονδρέζικο κοινο θα τον απολαμβάνει ως Πινκερτον. Τον Καβαραντόσι του, πρόσφατα τον ακουσαν στον Μπορντώ, αποσπάσματα από αυτες τις παραστασεις υπάρχουν κ είναι πολυ ενδιαφέροντα...

Anonymous said...

Αυτό που μου έμεινε από την πρεμιέρα ήταν ο πολύ καλός Hymel (ελάχιστα με πείραξαν οι δύο νοτες που τις πήρε ο βοριάς - μάλλον σαμποταζ του Κρομγουελ :-) και σε δεύτερη μοιρα το κονσεπτ με την μπραϊγ γραφή - μάλλον σαν αξιοπερίεργο το δεύτερο.

Αν δεν ήταν ο Hymel η παράσταση θα πέρναγε εύκολα στη λησμονιά θαρρώ.

Κανένα comment από τις επόμενεε μέρες;

Parsifal said...

Οι επόμενες μέρες κύλησαν με διακυμάνσεις. Η Κυριακή (δεύτερη παράσταση) ήταν μάλλον η χειρότερη απ΄όλες ενώ στην τρίτη κ τέταρτη (τελευταία) παράσταση ήταν σε μεγάλες φόρμες όλοι. Τα δύο Ρε του ντουέτου έκαναν αισθητη την παρουσία τους, επιτέλους, στην τρίτη και στην τέταρτη παράσταση αλλά και η σοπρακούτα στο φινάλε του Vieni al tempio που η Γκουτιέρες απέφυγε να τραγουδήσει στην πρεμιέρα. Περνάω post-Puritani depression τώρα. χεχε.