sábado, octubre 21, 2006

Off-Colón opera still going strong

As I have mentioned often in recent years, one of the most surprising results of the 2001-2 crisis has been the flourishing of new opera companies off-Colón. An expensive art form, opera needs funds and an audience that can pay: it is an astonishing fact that at a time of restricted pockets money has been found on both sides of the stage to expand opera in BA and surroundings; it shows that in trying circumstances audiences privilege culture. It also means that we have much greater choice and that the Colón is no longer the sole provider, all for the better as it stimulates our big theatre to keep its standards. The two main companies of this new movement are Buenos Aires Lírica (BAL) and Juventus Lyrica, who was the pioneer.This season I find BAL’s plans more stimulating than Juventus’, for the latter relies too much on revivals of recent years. Both companies work at the Avenida, in a calendar carefully planned to give them both the time they need. They rely heavily on Argentine artists. Although there are no premieres, several of the chosen operas in the BAL season entail severe challenges , are of high quality and haven’t been heard recently in our city. The company is off to an early start with Verdi’s “Ernani”, to my mind one of the best operas of his first period, based on Victor Hugo’s Romantic “Spanish” historical drama. The singers will be Svetlana Volosenko (a Russian soprano who lives here), Gustavo López Manzitti, Omar Carrión, the Chilean bass Homero Pérez-Miranda, Mariela Schemper, Ricardo Franco and Walter Schwarz. Carlos Vieu will conduct and Marcelo Perusso will do the production. Dates:March 17,19,13 and 25. Apart from a Roma (Avellaneda) revival some years back, “Ernani” was heard at the Colón in 1964 with a splendid cast: Labó, MacNeil, Roberti and Hines, conductor Previtali. A tough nut to crack follows: Monteverdi’s marvelous “L’incoronazione di Poppea” is an essential early Baroque piece, which moreover had a splendid interpretation conducted by René Jacobs during the Colón Renán era. It is a courageous choice and BAL is putting on a historicist version conducted by the Baroque specialist Juan Manuel Quintana. The lady producer comes from Italy and makes her local debut: Rita De Letteriis. A few of the singers have been announced: Patricia González (Poppea), Marcos Fink (Seneca), Evelyn Ramírez (Ottone) and Carla Filipcic Holm. Remarks: Fink is Argentine but lives in Europe, and generally does bass-baritone parts: Seneca is a deep bass; Ramírez makes her debut and comes from Chile; Filipcic , a soprano, does a mezzosoprano part, but in the press conference we were told that this responds to what Monteverdi wanted. Dates: May 12, 14, 18 and 20. Still another challenge: Tchaikovsky’s “Yevgeny Onegin” marks the first time, I believe, that a Russian opera in offered in that language in an off-Colón company. Its vast orchestra will feel constricted, I’m afraid, in the Avenida’s small pit, which should be enlarged. Conductor Carlos Vieu, producer Rita Cosentino. Singers: Graciela Oddone, Armando Noguera, Enrique Folger, Alejandra Malvino, Gabriela Cipriani Zec, Marta Cullerés, Ariel Cazes and Ricardo Cassinelli. Dates: July 14, 16, 20 and 22. Mozart will be represented by the revival of “La Clemenza di Tito” in Marcelo Lombardero’s controversial staging. Conductor: Luis Gorelik. With Virginia Correa Dupuy, Carlos Ullán, Ana Laura Menéndez and Alejandro Meerapfel, Sesto to be announced. September 15, 17, 21 and 23. The season ends with Gounod’s “Faust” conducted by Guillermo Brizzio and produced by Claudio Gallardou. The cast: López Manzitti, Filipcic-Holm, Homero Pérez-Miranda (bass from Chile). There will be no ballet. November 17, 19, 23 and 25. Juventus Lyrica, under the artistic orientation of Ana D’Anna, insists on revivals with one important exception: Verdi’s wonderful “Falstaff”, a really difficult assignment. Unfortunately the company hasn’t announced the casts. They start with Bizet’s “Carmen” in the hands of Susana Frangi (conducting) and D’Anna (producing). March 3l, April 2, 6 and 8. “Falstaff” will be conducted by Juventus’ principal maestro, Antonio Russo, and D’Anna will produce. June 23, 25 and 29, July 1. Puccini’s “La Boheme” makes an unnecessary comeback in September (1,3, 7 and 9), producer Barney Finn, conductor to be announced. Finally, Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” will be conducted by Russo and produced by Horacio Pigozzi. La Plata’s Teatro Argentino announces a good season under the artistic leadership of Reinaldo Censabella. Exact dates are lacking, only months are specified. April: Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” with Omar Carrión, María José Siri, María Luján Mirabelli and Carlos Duarte. Conductor, Dante Anzolini; producer, Marcelo Perusso. May: Valdo Sciammarella’s charming “Marianita Limena” (a welcome revival after about 40 years) combined with Falla’s ballet “El amor brujo”; conductor Carlos Calleja, producer Carlos Palacios. July: a strong verista work, Giordano’s “Andrea Chenier”, with Gustavo López Manzitti, Luis Gaeta and Italian soprano Maria Pia Piscitelli. Conductor, Mario Perusso; producer, Eduardo Rodríguez Arguibel; stage designer, Daniel Feijóo. August: Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette”, with Paula Almerares and Carlos Vittori. Conductor Javier Logioia Orbe, producer Marga Niec, stage designer Feijóo. October: Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” with Ricardo Ortale, Sebastián Sorarrain, Carlos Natale and Eleonora Sancho. Conductor Bruno D’Astoli, producer Matías Cambiasso, stage designer Raúl Bongiorno. November: Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” with Gustavo Gibert, Almerares, Carlos Esquivel and Adriana Mastrángelo. Conductor Jorge Carciofolo, producer Barney Finn, stage designer María Julia Bertotto. A well-balanced season with nicely chosen casts. 09/03/06 para el Buenos Aires Herald

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