Thursday, March 4, 2010

Milk-Punch, o Wisky? Madama Butterfly opens in Athens

As expected, the premiere of Madama Butterfly of February the 26th at the Athens Megaron was a personal triumph for Chinese diva Hui He.

Hui He appeared extremely confident and excelled both vocally and dramatically. A voice of important volume, easy high notes, great fraseggio -still some flaws in pronunciation though- and a committed actress, He was sensational in every aspect, received a long applause after "Un bel dí" and was hair-raising in "Che tua madre" and "Tú,tú piccolo iddio".

Listen to Hui He singing "Un bel di"

Angelo Simos as Pinkerton sounded strained in the high register (Dovunque al mondo) and was shadowed significantly by Hui He, especially during the love-duet (Bimba dagli occhi). Furthermore, he appeared uncomfortable on stage and we couldn't help noticing that he didn't take his eyes off of the lateral conductor screens. Still, at times, especially during the most lyric bars of the score, a healthy shiny voice would emerge, unable though to erase the impressions.

Marissia Papalexiou was impressive dramatically and seemed to be the only one respecting 100% the instructions of Fausta Mazzucchelli who was responsible for the "choreography". Suzuki is a rather thankless role and doesn't give to the mezzo many chances to unfold her virtues, other than the duet with Butterfly and Act III but Papalexiou's dark mezzo suited perfectly the part and sang a powerful Suzuki. Thankless is also the role of Sharpless, but Dimitris Tiliakos was a credible and well sung Sharpless, however a bit on the dull side (an impression I have had of his last few performances in Athens).

Far duller was the staging by Nikos Petropoulos, a staging with the sole virtue of not offending the conservative audience: no nudity -thank God!- no blood, no real hara-kiri on stage, nothing extreme but also nothing new to recommend.

Two great Butterflies of the past honoured us with their presence:

Marina Krilovici

Jeanette Pilou

Tonight 3/3, Hui He sang her 3rd and last performance of Madama Butterfly in Athens and we can only wish to have her back soon in one of her other significant roles (Tosca, Aida, Amelia) or in something as surprising as her smashing Ariadne, a few months ago.

Hui He posing for parsifal's backstage

Hui He, Con onor muore...

A photo album from the curtain calls:

1 comment:

Μαρία said...

Πολύ καλή παρουσίαση, Πάρσιφαλ.