martes, marzo 04, 2008

Opera institutions present their plans

As you know, during recent years opera has gone much beyond the Colón, as several institutions were born and others became more active. This is a particular blessing in the current season, when the Colón remains closed and has relinquished the option of having operatic activity elsewhere (namely, the Coliseo). The opera lover will find nevertheless a considerable quantity of options prepared by other outfits. At least twenty operas with orchestra will be on offer, probably more.

The Avenida will remain the venue for two companies: Buenos Aires Lírica (BAL) and Juventus Lyrica. A third company at the same theatre, the Casa de Opera led by Adelaida Negri, still hasn't announced its plans. But Fundamús, the birthchild of producer Eduardo Casullo, has; it will present this week Puccini's "La Boheme", though with a twist: the action is transplanted to our city . Later in the year, we are promised a very interesting revival: Verdi's "I Masnadieri", based on Schiller's "The Bandits".

BAL will keep to its accustomed five titles, each given five subscription performances. The price range for the season goes from $ 275 to $ 750 and new subscriptions are open until March 20 .

One choice seems to me of special interest: Jacques Offenbach's "La Belle Hélene", a witty piece recounting the Helen of Troy story as farce, and the first operetta by this great specialist seen with orchestra after 32 years (the last was "La Vie Parisienne" in a Spanish translation; blessedly the new venture will be in French). June 6 will be the start of the run. With Mariana Rewerski, Carlos Ullán, Osvaldo Peroni, Walter Schwarz, Vanesa Mautner. Conductor (C ). Carlos Vieu. Producer (P): Peter Macfarlane (an interesting idea, for he has shown talent in musical comedies).

I also welcome Verdi's "Attila", a strong work of his early period, although the Colón put it on 2001, with no less than Samuel Ramey. First performance on July 18, with Homero Pérez-Miranda, Mónica Ferracani, Omar Carrión, Arnaldo Quiroga. C: Javier Logioia Orbe; P: Marcelo Perusso.

Mozart's "Don Giovanni", of course, is a permanent staple of the repertoire. Why not, e.g., "La finta giardiniera"? But the cast (although not yet revealed in all roles) seems rather good: the protagonist will be Gustavo Ahualli , an Argentine baritone working in the USA; Hernán Iturralde will sing Leporello and Ullán, Don Ottavio. Two ladies have been announced: Carla Filipcic Holm and Ana Laura Menéndez. First night, November 7. C: Vieu. P: Rita de Letteriis, who had done a valuable job in Monteverdi's "L'incoronazione di Poppea".

Last year there was an intense revival of Gluck's "Iphigénie en Tauride" done by the Compañía de las Luces under Marcelo Birman. Instead of such an immediate new production by another outfit, it would have been much more to the point to offer the same composer's "Iphigénie en Aulide", an important opera ripe indeed for revival (last time here: 1949, Colón). Principals: Cecilia Díaz, Luis Olivares, Alejandro Meerapfel. The conductor is Alejo Pérez. P, Rita Cosentino. First performance: September 12.

I last mention Rossini's "L'Italiana in Algeri", although it starts the season, because I feel it's a bad choice. Such a young institution as BAL shouldn't repeat titles it has offered a few years ago. With so much Rossini waiting on the wings, I think that an occasion was missed. Following last year's BAL trend, two of the artists come from Chile: Evelyn Ramírez and Jaime Caicompai. Others: Iturralde, Fernando Santiago. C: Guillermo Brizzio. P: Pablo Maritano. First night on April 4.

Juventus Lyrica's choices are also open to strictures: they are much too conservative. As in earlier years, they offer a shorter season: four titles (although one is a double bill) and four subscription performances of each (subscriptions were sold in October-November last); the price range went from $ 280 to $ 520. This is their tenth season . Unfortunately they provide much less information than BAL: no casts.

Gounod's "Roméo et Juliette" has had recent splendid stagings at the La Plata Argentino, and as that season is accessible to our city in one hour by roadway, I include it in the opera lover's schedule. No need for a local revival, but there's an attenuating circumstance depending on the chosen cast: it tells a story of adolescent love , so it certainly comes within the purpose of Juventus: to give chances to young singers. No conductor is announced. P, Ana d'Anna, who is the founder of Juventus. Dates: April 18, 20, 24 and 26.

The double bill will combine Pergolesi's "La serva padrona" with Handel's "Acis and Galathea", in the Mozart orchestration (probably a premiere in that version; though in this case I prefer pure Handel such as was offered years ago by Les Arts Florissants under William Christie). "La serva padrona" will be duplicated this year by the Colón Chamber Opera. Andrés Gerszenzon will conduct and no producer is mentioned. June 20, 22, 26 and 28.

Two extremely well-known pieces will have the added interest of being heard in the proper dramatic sequence: Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" and Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro". Both will be conduced by Antonio Russo; the producer for the first hasn't been announced, and D'Anna will stage the Mozart comedy. Dates: for "The Barber": August 29 and 31, September 4 and 6 ; for "Figaro": November 21, 23, 27 and 29.

Para el Buenos Aires Herald

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