Certainly no production in recent years has had such an appalling series of mishaps and substitutions as the Colón's 2007 "
The facts concerning substitutions are as follows. The press conference announcing the season told us that the protagonists in the two casts would be: Violetta: Nathalie Manfrino / Maya Dashuk; Alfredo: Darío Schmunck / Enrique Folger. But after the subscription series were sold, both Violettas disappeared; they were replaced by Natalia Ushakova and Karen Vourch; the latter was in turn replaced by María José Siri. Eventually a third Violetta was presented: Victoria Loukianetz. The first Alfredo also vanished; a new name appeared: Raúl Giménez; at the last moment he was allegedly ill, and a young Mexican made his local debut: José Luis Duval. The Germonts were unchanged: Víctor Torres and Omar Carrión; but in the smaller parts there were also many different artists than those originally publicized. All this with no explanation.
But there was another factor: producer Eric Vigié aroused irate reactions in a degree that other objectionable productions haven't provoked in recent years. Was it because "
I didn't like it either but I've seen worse. The problem, apart from accepting or not the transposition, was in the gross lapses of taste: in the First Act the provocative dress of Violetta ; in the Second she receives Germont in underwear and leaves for Paris in a dressing gown, and in her love nest she somehow lets a painter work with two models (a total incongruity); in the Third Act (I hold to the four-act division, not respected in this production) comes the worst: four scantily clad girls "dance" an absurd choreography by Diana Teocharidis and then play the part of bulls to a dwarf toreador! Etc. Imme Moeller is generally a good clothing designer, so I presume she followed Vigié's orders in the silly situations above.
A further point: the choice of "
The singers. I went to the third performance scheduled with Ushakova; but after the first and heavily criticized appearance she departed; I got the second cast Violetta, María José Siri. The Uruguayan artist has done the role here before; she is a convincing actress and a thorough professional, but the voice is too incisive and has too much vibrato. I also saw Loukianetz in the part; this petite Ukrainian has had a good career featuring varied roles including Gilda, suggesting some flexibility in the voice; well, she too has problems of incisiveness and the First Act had some harsh moments though she managed well the highest register and the fast runs; but as the opera went on, she found her best voice and produced some moments of strong emotional projection , giving us an expressive Violetta still vocally fresh at the end.
José Luis Duval gave a rather neutral impression; the voice is good and the high notes are there, but the phrasing was boring and the acting, wooden. Enrique Folger was the opposite: an engaging, emotional Alfredo with a faulty technique leading to a fatal break in the "cabaletta". Víctor Torres sang Germont as if in a song recital, his soft-grained voice and phrasing very beautiful but un-Verdian in timbre. Omar Carrión did his aria well but was a cypher as an actor and his voice sounded weak in the low register.
The smaller parts were generally well taken. Mónica Sardi and especially Mariana Carnovali were fine Floras; Leonardo Estévez and Alejandro Meerapfel gave us dramatic accounts of Baron Douphol; both Ariel Cazes and Juan Barrile offered sensitive portraits of Dr. Grenvil. Federico Sanguinetti and Esteban Hildebrand were rather neuter as D'Obigny, Vanesa Mautner was a muted Annina, and there was some strain in Gabriel Renaud as Gaston, less so in Gabriel Centeno.
It seems that in the first performance the string intonation was shaky; by the third and the last the orchestral results were reasonably good, and Guillermo Brizzio, an old pro, knows the style . The Chorus under Salvatore Caputo sang firmly and seemed involved in the hectic action.
Para el Buenos Aires Herald.