Sunday, 22 January 2012

Paris Forza del Destino

La forza del destino. Paris Bastille Opera, November 28 2011. Production: Jean-Claude Auvray. Conductor: Philippe Jordan. Cast: Violeta Urmana (L), Marcelo Alvarez (Alvaro), Vladimir Stoyanov (Don C), Nadia Krasteva (Preziosilla), Kwangchoul Yun (Padre Guardiano), Nicola Alaimo (Fra Melitone)

In summary, the Bastille Opera has presented  us with and entirely unconvincing staging of Verdis La force du destin, both dramatically and vocally a major disappointment.

To begin with the staging, Auvray transposes the plot to the 19th Century and to a stage with occasional backdrops of paintings being the only decorations in the very dark and naked sets. Not an unreasonable approach, as such, however, with austere sets like, much relies on the singers ability to convince dramatically.

Vocally, Violeta Urmana, a former mezzo-soprano, is simply too heavy, with a strained top without bloom and spirit. Marcelo Alvarez, whose acting skills are never above the mediocre, here falls considerably below mediocre, with stand-and-deliver acting, and dispirited vocal delivery (though he does hit the notes relatively unstrained). While it may have worked (to a certain extent) for Pavarotti, vraiment, ca ne suffit franchement pas monsieur Alvarez.
Vladimir Stoyanov was simply monotonous and uninteresting, Nadia Krasteva was rough-voiced and unsophisticated. The only cast member infusing a bit of life into this production was Nicola Alaimo as Fra Melitone.
The biggest applause, deservedly went to conductor Philippe Jordan, though to lift this dead-weight production would be beyond the means of any conductor.

The production clearly benefited from being transferred to television, but in the auditorium it was dismal evening, that never seemed to end.

L´Opera de Bastille peut et doit mieux faire. Bonne nuit a tous.

The final scene:

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):

Violeta Urmana: 2
Marcelo Alvarez: 3
Vladimir Stoyanov: 2

Production (Auvray): 2
Philippe Jordan: 4

Overall impression: 2

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