Spain Bellini, Norma: Refrain and Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu / Domingo Hindoyan (conductor), Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, 22 & 23.7.2022. (JMI)
Director – Álex Ollé
Units – Alfons Flores
Costumes – Lluc Castells
Lighting – Marco Filibeck
Refrain director – Pablo Assante
Norma – Marina Rebeka / Sonya Yoncheva
Pollione – Riccardo Massi / Airam Hernández
Adalgisa – Varduhi Abrahamyan / Teresa Iervolino
Oroveso – Marco Mimica
Clotilde – Nuria Vilà
Flavio – Néstor Losán
This Vincenzo Bellini masterpiece was final seen on the Liceu in 2015, when Sondra Radvanovsky and Gregory Kunde carried out in the principle solid and each triumphed of their roles. On this event, the curiosity was centered on the alternating Normas, Marina Rebeka and Sonya Yoncheva.
The primary solid chronologically featured Marina Rebeka because the protagonist, however it’s troublesome for me to contemplate it because the ‘first solid’. Sonya Yoncheva is at present a number one determine within the lyric world and, if she didn’t sing Norma earlier, it was because of her commitments elsewhere, particularly a Munich live performance with William Christie and the one just a few days earlier in Madrid the place she accompanied Plácido Domingo.
The staging by Alex Ollé (one of many inventive administrators of La Fura dels Baus and at present artist-in-residence artist on the Liceu) comes from London’s Covent Backyard, the place it premiered in 2016. It takes the motion out of the historic context and brings it as much as fashionable instances, which all the time presents issues. The Druids change into a kind of religious-military sect, positioned extra in Spain than in France, with hoods, impaling and the like. The units are somewhat authentic, with virtually all the opera going down in an outside area; the one ornament, other than an altar, is a profusion of Crucifixes. As well as, Norma’s home seems initially of Act II in a contemporary setting with sofas and a tv. The costumes supply a profusion of army and ecclesiastical uniforms (particularly girls’s) for the Druids and regular avenue garments for the so-called Romans.
Domingo Hindoyan, whose conducting has all the time been convincing, was final on the Liceu three years in the past main Luisa Miller. I’d spotlight his studying of Act II the place the emotion, which lacked considerably in Act I, was excellent. He took nice care of the singers, which is essential in a bel canto opera like this one. Below his baton, each the Orchestra and the Refrain of the Gran Teatre del Liceu did effectively.
Norma was carried out on the primary night by soprano Marina Rebeka, who has a horny voice, good within the higher half, and resolved the rating’s coloratura calls for. Marina Rebeka is a lyrical soprano, and there are moments when a extra dramatic voice than hers is required. To all this we should add a great stage temperament, which makes her worthy of her triumph. To the viewers’s shock, she didn’t come out to obtain the well-deserved applause within the closing bows, the place Domingo Hindoyan requested the viewers for silence and introduced that she would have come out, however that she was indisposed. Certainly, she did come out, supported by the conductor and one other particular person, and it’s onerous to know how she might have concluded the efficiency in that state. Hats off to Rebeka for her nice professionalism!
Sonya Yoncheva’s voice is darker than Rebeka’s, which makes her higher fitted to the character of Norma. I’ve to say that my expectations are very excessive when Yoncheva sings, however right here I used to be considerably disillusioned in Act I although absolutely happy and moved in Act II. It’s not simple to beat the difficulties of this function, and Yoncheva was simply excellent within the second act, the place she gave a efficiency that will likely be troublesome to neglect. Within the first act she was good, however not distinctive, and it appeared to me that she fell quick in her interpretation of the all the time anticipated ‘Casta diva’. In any case, in two days we heard two excellent interpreters of Norma, which needs to be pressured as a result of it doesn’t all the time occur this fashion.
Riccardo Massi as Pollione changed the initially introduced Paolo Fanale. I had the chance to see him on this identical character in Munich three years in the past, and my impression stays the identical: he has a spinto lyrical voice and sings with out nuance and with open sounds, which turns into monotonous and uninteresting.
The second Pollione was tenor Airam Hernández, who was uneven. Pollione’s entrance on stage along with his aria and cabaletta will not be simple to ship, and Hernández fell quick, providing a really tight excessive register, avoiding the very best notes and going out of tune on a couple of event. He improved considerably in his duet with Adalgisa, however he continued to wrestle. He was at his greatest within the duets with Norma within the second act.
Adalgisa within the first solid was mezzo-soprano Varduhi Abrahamyan, who gave a strong efficiency, exhibiting musicality and a horny voice in her duets with Norma and Pollione. Every time I see this opera, I bear in mind Fiorenza Cosotto, who all the time received large ovations in Adalgisa’s lengthy recitative. Varduhi Abrahamyan performs in one other league. The second Adalgisa was Teresa Iervolino, who was good on the whole and sang with gusto, however her huge handicap is the excessive notes, that are poor.
Within the first solid, Oroveso was to have been Nicolas Testé, however he cancelled because of sickness and was changed by Marco Mimica, who sang properly each days. Within the secondary characters, Nuria Vilà was high-quality as Clotilde, and Néstor Losán was a musical Flavio with a lightweight voice.
José M. Irurzun