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Thread: La forza del destino, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, 9th April 2019

          
   
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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    La forza del destino, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, 9th April 2019

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    La forza del destino, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, 9th April 2019

    Everytime I return to Covent Garden I am excited to be there as much as though it was my first visit. I don’t have a good count for the number of visits but I think I have been here between fifty and sixty times. It is quite thrilling. Many different emotions well up not just from the performance but also the experience of being here.
    This time again feels like a first visit, actually being the first time I have returned since the current layout was completed. It is more twenty-first century space; coffee bars and water jugs, washrooms and barrier free user space have replaced twentieth century antiquities such as ticket counters and cloak halls. It is beautiful, as though pulled straight from a glossy architecture magazine. Clean and sterile but also sparkling and elegant with illuminations on the wonderful gloss white ironwork structure of the Floral Hall. More dark brown wood has been introduced as though organically tying in the different elements of the building in to one coherent story. It is fabulous.
    As I walk through the new section I look for the glass of the stage doors but it has gone. It is buried in time like the wine bar that was behind the ticket office of two generations (of layouts) before. That is the wine bar where the wife and I frequented twenty-three years ago. The wine bar where we met Jeremy, the Royal Ballet choreographer who became our friend. Gone is the wine bar where we drank wine and ate cheese with Muriel, Melanie and Jean-Pierre from the wrong side of the bar. The wine bar where Aubrey, lead violinist and other members of the orchestra would pop in for a quick glass of wine in the interval. It’s a sentimental and slightly sad feeling as I walk through the glass doors in to the fresh outside air. Goodbye Covent Garden, until the next time.



    4 hours earlier*

    In the darkness, the music washes over with a wonderful warm feeling. At first Pappano’s treatment is a little distant. We are in row L of the amphitheatre and a subtle delivery only just reaches us but the feeling is all there. The wife touches my hand to gain my attention and smiles and I understand she recognises the music. The curtain rises during the prologue and children are playing in a room. The story of the first born son dying is being played out. I am a little lost between appreciating the symphony and following the story on stage but I think it interesting and it works.

    The sets and costumes are clean and simple, without distraction. They set the scene, somewhere around the late nineteenth century and there are no complications. No great symbols, allegories or statements by the set designer.
    We have the contemporary projection use, in a number of scenes, where the faces of the singers are shown on the back wall. I appreciate the quality of acting these days is very good and has a come a long way in recent years but the form of drama does not lend itself to these close up shots. The acting is far from the level of Laurence Olivier and the slow motion close up shots of the faces blown up to fifteen feet in size are not only a distraction but took me completely away from the story and landed me back into row L of the theatre.

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    Outside the theatre, we are back in Covent Garden, London and though it is late it is quite noisy. I need a few moments for orientation and stand out of the way of the traffic. The wife enjoyed the performance very much but some of the story is a bit confused by the gypsy dances and comedy interspersed in the powerful romantic drama. Yes, I agree and go on to say that many people share that confusion with this drama. Some describe it as inconsistent and I think the composer struggled a bit with the arrangement, I continued as my voice trails off into quiet doubt.


    2 hours earlier*

    Act 3 scene 1; two tortured men and we are filled with conflict. Alvaro is torn apart with grief and lost love and Carlo is twisted with hate and rage. The characters are portrayed with complete conviction and we’re brought right in to the story; there is nothing else. The beautiful tones of Kaufmann have the depth of passion of the Inca prince and the power of Tezier is pure of hate and anger. Both marry with perfect dynamics and emotions are fired by some of the most evoking melodies from Verdi delivered with perfection by Pappano. We are there, suffering real pains and absolutely immersed. This is magical; the wonder that is opera. I am both in Heaven and in Hell.

    Without touching on the dramatic qualities that they add to the opera, Preziosilla and the gypsy scenes are colourful in costume and choreography and are fun. Corbelli, typically, does fun or funny very well. This allowed Brother Melitone to have many laughs from the audience.
    I had noticed Liudmyla Monastyrska for the first time a few weeks earlier when watching a (dvd) production of Macbeth and was impressed. She is beautiful and powerful and very convincing but at times the power seems to be delivered at level three, eight or eleven only and needs to be harnessed. In act one this was apparent but was much less so throughout the rest of the performance. Several times we were pulled into Leonora and it was beautiful, tragic and profound.

    The highlights of the evening went very high; they soared and took us to the stars. It was a fantastic evening and I thank the opera gods for the gift. It was just by chance I logged on to the company website and there, were the tickets available; waiting for my clicky finger.


    Music Giuseppe Verdi
    Libretto Francesco Maria Piave
    Original director Christof Loy
    Associate director Georg Zlabinger
    Designer Christian Schmidt
    Associate set designer Federico Pacher
    Lighting designer Olaf Winter
    Choreographer Otto Pichler
    Associate choreographer Johannes Stepanek
    Dramaturg Klaus Bertisch

    Conductor Antonio Pappano
    Leonora Liudmyla Monastyrska
    Don Alvaro Jonas Kaufmann
    Don Carlo di Vargas Ludovic Tézier
    Padre Guardiano Ferruccio Furlanetto
    Fra Melitone Alessandro Corbelli
    Preziosilla Veronica Simeoni
    Marquis of Calatrava Robert Lloyd
    Curra Roberta Alexander
    Alcalde Michael Mofidian
    Maestro Trabuco Carlo Bosi
    Chorus Master William Spaulding
    Chorus Royal Opera Chorus
    Concert Master Sergey Galaktionov
    Orchestra Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    ^^

    Thank you Clayton for a brilliant revue. You really captured the atmosphere of both the opera house and the opera itself.

    I'm pleased you both had a wonderful evening.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    I do feel very lucky to be so close to such a great opera house. I am looking forward to the next visit!

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