Monday, September 21, 2009

Pietá di noi: Don Giovanni opens in Thessaloniki


Being in Thessaloniki for a long, long weekend, I grabbed the chance to attend the second performance of a new production of Don Giovanni, produced by the Opera of Thessaloniki.

The cast featured one of the best up-and-coming Don Giovannis around, Greek baritone Aris Argiris, and one thought that the rest of the cast would/could be of the same level. But, alas, during the performance one could only wish for this torture to come to an end.

An unimaginative production, an inexistant stage-direction, a terrible, ugly set, costumes that lacked any hint of creativity or imagination, a mediocre orchestra (the Opera – Symphony Orchestra “Amadeus” - I didn't even know that such an orchestra existed), some bad conducting -by Nikos Athineos- and equally bad singing were the ingredients of the night.


Konstantinos Katsaras as the Commendatore was resonant and loud but his singing was vulgar, shallow and the high notes gave him a hard time.


Mina Polychronou was an adorable Zerlina, credible and noble, both vocally and dramatically, and her "Batti, batti" was applauded with enthusiasm while Akis Lalousis, was a handsome Masetto whose singing left me indifferent and who was almost constantly off-tempo -most likely due to the trully bad synchronization between pit and stage.

Juan Carlos Vassalo has a beautiful instrument however, whatever was above or on the passaggio had to be screamed and that's not really the way to sing "Dalla sua pace" or "Il mio Tesoro"...

Alexandra Matheoudaki was a parody of Donna Anna, an offense to the audience and to Mozart. She kept struggling during the night in order to offer us some terrible singing and while her "Or sai chi l'onore" made me furious, her "Non mi dir" -keeping the rhythm with her hands while singing like some 2nd grade student- made me jump off my chair in laughter. What is Florence Foster Jenkins doing in this production? Oh, right, I forgot, she's a member of the Board of the Opera of Thessaloniki and that entitles her to sing. What a disgrace...


Kassandra Dimopoulou displays a very interesting voice (we had written about her some time ago) however Donna Elvira is definitely not her part. Her singing was full of edges, forced and squeeky high notes and light years from being called "mozartian". She looked the part though and her stage presence was excellent.

Konstantinos Ntotsikas was a sympathetic and funny Leporello however his singing was underpowered and his acting lacked sparkle and charisma.


Aris Argiris fought his way through the inexistant stage-direction, the mediocre conducting and the presence of t-h-a-t Donna Anna and even under these circumstances, created a wonderful Don Giovanni: his was a Don that looked and lived the part, a finto nobile, full of grace with his victims, but an inglourious basterd in realtá, - It couldn't be either way: the Greek baritone has sung Giovanni in major theatres of Europe (last one was Frankfurt, March 2009) and the role of the infamous womanizer appears repeatedly on his agenda for the next few years.


One has to wonder. I had known about this Don Giovanni since the beginning of June. The announcement and the press-conference of this production took place just a few days before the premiere (mid-September?) while tickets went on sale just 3 days before the premiere. The publicity that the production received was scarce. Just a few lines in some newspapers. No posters, no banners and of course no audience. The performance of Saturday, 19th of September took place in front of an audience of 150 (?) people: it seems that this provincial organisation - that receives State funding- doesn't need to sell tickets and does its best to achieve that. Even the printed program, of large dimensions, containing full libretto and translation, was gratis (!). I assume that their declarations for the creation of an independent Opera House (the organisation is till now under the auspices of the State Theatre) is just a bad joke.

Watch

Aris Argiris singing
Deh, vieni alla finestra
(dark, shaky, unfocused-gets better towards the end)




Don Giovanni! a cenar teco m'invitasti
Argiris - Katsaras - Dotsikas


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Σκληρός αλλά ειλικρινής. Τόσο χάλια ε?

Parsifal said...

Αν διαβάζατε αυτό που έγραψα την επόμενη της πρεμιέρας θα βλεπατε "σκληρότητα". Αυτό που τελικά "ανέβηκε" πέρασε από πολλά κύματα κ κόπηκαν ολόκληρες παράγραφοι για να βγει ευπρεπές και δημοσιευσιμο...

Anonymous said...

Κρίμα. Αλλά έχουν κ αυτοί αισθήματα.

Parsifal said...

Φυσικά, το ίδιο κ οι θεατές. Κ αυτοί δεν πληρώνονται. Τουναντίον...

mahler76 said...

κοινώς άξιζε για να κλάσει κανείς στο γέλιο. Κρίμα που το έχασα. Να δώ και το γκαζόν στους τοίχους...

Parsifal said...

Χμμμ...όχι ακριβώς, γιατί αν η καθε μανδάμ βγάζει τα απωθημένα της για ό,τι δεν τραγουδησε στη νιότη της καταντώντας την παράσταση φάρσα, οι υπόλοιποι προσπαθησαν με ειλικρίνεια για το καλύτερο.

Το σκηνικό με το γκαζόν τα βρύα κ τους λειχήνες ήταν φρικτό αισθητικά κ καθόλου λειτουργικό. Η σκηνοθεσία ακόμη χειρότερη. Τα κοστούμια ήταν οκ, αλλά πολύ...κοινά.

mahler76 said...

μώρε πλάκα κάνω. τώρα ας πούμε αυτή η παράσταση δεν θα έπρεπε να γιουχαιστεί? το έχουμε ξαναθίξει το θέμα άλλα όταν καταχειροκροτείτε η κάθε μετριότητα άντε μετά να ταρακουνηθούν και λιγάκι. Αλήθεια τώρα όλες οι παραστάσεις της Λυρικής αλλάζουν ημερομηνίες διότι δεν υπάρχει ρευστό?

Parsifal said...

Ούτε κ αυτοί δεν ξέρουν ακόμα. Προσπαθούν να τα μαζεψουν κ να δουν τί μπορούν να κάνουν. Ξανασυζητιέται να μην αρχίσει τελικά η σαιζόν τον Δεκέμβρη αλλά να παίξει ο Ριγκολέττο απο τον Οκτωβριο προσβλέποντας σε εύκολα σολντ-άουτ κ χρήματα από τα εισιτήρια. ο Σαμψών ακυρώθηκε ως πολυ ακριβή (συμ)παραγωγή, ο Ντον Τζοβάνι ακυρώθηκε, μάλλον το ίδιο κ η Πηνελόπη του Φωρέ (ή Φορέ) λενε κάτι για Μπατερφλάι στο Μέγαρο με την παλιά παραγωγή του Πετρόπουλου κ τη Δήμητρα (!!!)κ άλλα πολλά που συζητιούνται με κλειστές πορτες κ δεν τα λεμε...Έχω εμπιστοσύνη στον Πάκορ, αν αντέξει-θα τη βρει τη λυση.

Μαρία said...

O Pacor δεν θα αντέξει πέραν αυτής της σεζόν.

Parsifal said...

Euxomai na mh epalh8euteis... krima 8a htan.

sakafiora said...

panta anevainw ta lathos s/k