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2006-11, Munich, Don Carlo

Don Carlo

(Five act version in Italian)

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Composer: Guiseppe Verdi
Librettist: Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle after Schiller’s drama, Cormon’s drama and Prescott’s history. Revised in 4 acts by du Locle, translated into Italian by Angelo Zanardini based on Achile de Lauziéres’ original version
Venue and Dates: Bayerische Staatsoper
1, 4 November 2006
Conductor: Paolo Carignani
Director/Designer: Jürgen Rose
Set, Lighting Concept and Costumes: Jürgen Rose
Lighting: Michael Bauer
Performers:
Philip II :  René Pape
Don Carlo:  Fabio Armiliato(1, 4 Nov) / Alberto Cupido (28 Oct)
Rodrigo, Marquis de Posa: Simon Keenlyside
(1, 4 Nov. Standing in at short notice for Martin Gantner) /
Rodrigo Franco Vassallo (28 Oct)
Grand Inquisitor: Askar Abdrazakov
A monk: Steven Humes
Elisabeth de Valois: Norma Fantini
Princess Eboli: Luciana D’Intino
Countess of Aremberg: Lucy Craig
Tebaldo: Lana Kos
Herald: Kenneth Roberson / Tommaso Randazzo (1, 4 Nov)
Six Flemish Deputies: Woo-Sung An, Gerhard Auer, Marc Pujol,  Christian Rieger,
Hermann Sapell, Rüdiger Trebes
The Bavarian State Orchestra
The Chorus of the Bavarian Opera (Chorus Master: Andrés Máspero)

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Soundbites

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Der neue Merker (Dorothea Zweipfennig)

Translated by Ursula Turecek

Munich: Bavarian State Opera – 1 November 2006 Don Carlo

Luxurious singing festival

Although Jürgen Rose’s settings are according to the gloomy subject a little constantly dark with the exception of the auto-da-fé, but this production is characterised by a very faithful rendition. In the performers’ precision work many new and enjoyable features were to be seen, they were surely introduced in large part by the particular singers and contributed much to the story’s plausibility. At the rostrum stood Paolo Carignani. He tackled Verdi’s music in an enjoyably brisk manner but he should have supported the singers’ efforts for subtle finishing touches more, in Pape’s Filippo-aria for example.
René Pape was a brilliant Filippo II. Exciting pity he shows how this king is under the burden of restraints and with his super-bass that has become really huge in the course of time Pape carries considerable weight as always. For the first time in this production it was an altogether believable Marquis Posa that stood on the Nationaltheater’s stage: Simon Keenlyside (for the ill Gantner). Concerning his looks and acting and with his meaty baritone that is nevertheless capable of legato he was exactly the right man at the right place and an excellent equivalent to Pape’s king and Fabio Armiliato’s Carlo. Armiliato almost surprised a little. He had begged to be excuded because of a cold but still he delivered – after a cautious beginning – an extremely impressive vocal performance with enjoyable timbre. With looks like originating from a cloak-and-sword movie and acting in an extremely committed way his Carlo did not come across as the usual softie but as a man past whom you would not put political tasks at all.

Lucia D’Intino went strong downright gorgeously with her thoroughbred mezzo as Eboli, so Norma Fantini as Elisabetta could not quite keep up with her. She looked very beautiful and acted very convincingly and naturally, that’s true, but her soprano shows signs of overstraining already. In the lower registers and in piano everything sounds rather enjoyable but we know the improper clangour in the heights and in forte from overstrained highly dramatic sopranos too.

A little disappointing was Askar Abdrazakov with a bumpy bass as Grand Inquisitore who cannot keep up with his brother Ildar’s vocal quality. Steven Humes’ bass on the other hand seems to have matured wonderfully in the course of time as you could hear from his Monch/Charles V. A particularly favourable gain in this production is the representation of the page by the vocally warm Lana Kos. Talia Or as Voice from Heaven made a rather nice but agitated little voice audible.

Conclusion: All the parties – including the chorus – proved up to the singing contest that was instigated by Carignani’s partly uninhibited volume and were acclaimed for it most fervidly in the sold out Nationaltheater.

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A review in French by David Fournier for forumopera.com (extract below)

http://www.forumopera.com/concerts/doncarlo_munich.html

A translation will follow

… ”Il faudrait des pages pour dire tout le bien que l’on pense du Posa de Simon Keenlyside. Son chant est l’un des plus beaux et des plus accomplis parmi les barytons de sa génération. Le timbre est somptueux, l’incarnation poignante, toujours juste. Si l’on n’avait récemment entendu Ludovic Tézier dans le même rôle (à Toulouse, en début de saison dernière, puis à Strasbourg au printemps, et en français cette fois), on pourrait même se permettre d’affirmer que nous tenons là son meilleur interprète actuel. Qui d’autre, aujourd’hui, possède à un tel degré cette projection haut placée, cette franchise d’émission, cet art des couleurs ? Une leçon de chant, assurément.” …

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