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Uneven Cenerentola at the Flanders Opera

De Vlaamse Opera
06/13/1999 -  et 15, 18, 20, 22* juin 1999
Gioacchino Rossini : La Cenerentola
Laura Polverelli (Angelina), Paul Austin Kelly (Ramiro), Michael Kraus (Dandini) Jozsef Gregor (Don Magnifico) Laurence Misonne (Clorinda), Mireille Capelle (Tisbe), Mark S. Doss (Alcindoro)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Flanders Opera, Alberto Zedda (conductor)
Guy Joosten (producer), Didier Payen (sets), Sven Use/ Nina Reichman (costumes), Benny Ball (lightling)

This production is a revival of Guy Joosten's first approach to an opera, back in 1991. As always with this producer, there are a lot of ideas (some good, some bad) but what is most missing is the necessary link between the stage concepts and the music. For instance, the finale outrageously overacted spoils the touching effect this aria should have on the listener.

It's a pity because at other moments the inventivity of Joosten works very well, helped by a beautiful and ingenious set, as well as colorful costumes.

There is a lot of satisfaction in the pit: the main interest of the performance is the very idiomatic conducting of the rossinian specialist Alberto Zedda, precise, lively and giving the best of a music which offers so much pleasure.

Unfortunately the cast is far from ideal on the vocal point of view (definitively the weakest point of the Flanders Opera this season), although each performer is excellent as far as acting is concerned. The problem is a question of style and specificity of rossinian singing.

Jozsef Gregor as Don Magnifico, with his tired voice can't do justice to a difficult role (one of his aria is fortunately cut).Michael Kraus hasn't the technique for rossinian vocalism despite a beautiful timbre that has given more satisfaction in other roles (as Billy Budd, for example). Paul Austin Kelly is a real disapointment, despite a flattering reputation with a difficult top and a short projection. Mark S.Doss has an interesting timbre but fails technically in his aria (" La del Ciel "). Laurence Misonne and Mireille Capelle are funny and vocally adequate as Clorinda and Tisbe.

Which leaves us with Laura Polverelli, the real discovery of the evening and the only singer with the exact right style for this repertoire. The voice is warm and, although small, projects well in the auditorium; she knows how to vocalise. Her only problem is a dangerously constricted top, obvious in the overambitious cadenzas of the final Rondo, otherwise sung with perfect musicality. An artist of great potential.

Christophe Vetter

Next Season:

The new musical director, replacing already leaving Marc Minkowski ,is young Massimo Zanetti

" Jenufa " (new production) Robert Carsen is the producer; the cast includes Josephine Barstow, Gunnel Bohman, Stefan Margita, Christopher Ventris ; conductor : Friedemann Layer

  • " Ernani " (in concert) with Hasmik Papian, Mario Malagnini, Giovanni Meoni, Francesco Ellero d’Artegna
  • " Platée " (coproduction with Paris, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Caen, Genève) Mark Minkowski conducts.
  • " Le Nozze Di Figaro " (revival) cond : Zanetti ; prod : Joosten ; with Véronique Gens, Roberto Scaltriti, Gabriele Rossmanith, Dean Ely, Marina Comparato
  • " Contes d’Hoffmann " (np) cond : Jean-Claude Casadesus prod : David McVicar with Mikhail Dawidoff, Laura Claycomb, Stephanie Friede, Mireille Delunsch, Charlotte Hellekant, Laurent Naouri/ Armand Arapian
  • " Fliegende Holländer " (np) cond : Zanetti prod : Anthony McDonald with Robert Hale, Nina Stemme
  • " Oedipus Rex " (np) cond : Marc Albrecht prod : Joosten with Anthony Rolfe Johnson/Bruce Rankin, Yvonne Naef/Livia Budai
  • " Madama Butterfly " (revival of the Carsen prod) cond : Varviso with Cheryl Barker, Mikhail Dawidoff

Recitals : Christiane Oelze (4/10/1999) ; Thomas Hampson (20/12/1999) ; Susan Graham (30/04/2000) ; Olaf Bär (29/11/1999) ; Christine Schäfer (29/01/2000) ; Hans Peter Blochwitz (8/04/2000) ; Wolfgang Holzmair (11/01/2000) ; Christophe Prégardien (7/02/2000) ; Stella Doufexis (18/03/2000)

Informations : http://www.vlaamseopera.be

03/233 68 08 (Antwerpen)

09/223 06 81 (Gent)

Christophe Vetter



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