Edgardo di Ravenswood – Gran Teatre del Liceu

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LuciaObviously it was Lucia di Lammermoor, but Juan Diego Florez took the role for the first time in the world! So, obviously we were all there to hear Edgardo, and not Lucia. 🙂

Our hero, as you know at this point, is exploring other ways and other vocal styles, following the natural change of his voice, and here he lands at Lucia! The result, I must say, is not perfect, but let’s see some details. In the first act, the duet Verranno a te sull’aure was great. Here he is at home: long phrases, high range, young romantic lover character; the result was really remarkable, his fraseggio was perfect, very moving. The final high note was amazing.

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Verranno a te sull’aure

Then, we get to the sextet at the end of Act II; I had read very harsh reviews, so I was expecting the worst. Instead, I must say, the sextet came out very well. In my opinion, the Rossini school helps: while for a random tenor the Lucia sextet is hard, and he probably has problems just finding his attacks, for a Rossini perfectionist like Florez it’s a walk in the park.
From a vocal point of view, I was expecting him to drown, and instead his monumental projection pierced through the wall of sound of the orchestra (which was WAY too loud), so that you could hear him very well, even in the middle of all other singers. The thing that did not come out as it should was Maledetto sia l’istante. In that spot, something was missing, the dramatic force, the oomph; the voice remains a bit flat, where, instead, you want to hear a desperate rage. In this point Edgardo must be scary, and Florez is never scary. In a certain sense, his voice is too beautiful. The final concertato absolutely wonderful: see above, Rossini school. The same fault was found in the duel duet with the baritone: his voice never communicates rage, or anger, NEVER; could it be also a personality trait? And here we come to the final scene, where I really can’t think of anybody who could give a better performance, not even Kraus. Ok, this is blasphemy, I know. But really, in my opinion, I sincerely can’t think of Tombe degli avi miei sung much better than that. The vocal emission is so pure that it conveys a sweet sadness, a deep sorrow, without resorting to sighs and sobs, of course. The vocal line is always straight and wonderful, never forced, not even on the (very many) high notes. The climb up to the last Bell’alma innamorata becomes an ascent to the scaffold, like a king would. A perfect romantic hero.

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Maledetto sia l’istante

Lucia was the Romanian soprano Elena Mosuc, small voice, but, as you know, I’m not a big size queen, so, in itself, this doesn’t bother me too much. I really liked the tone color, wonderful filati high notes, the super-high notes a little less consistent, some good, some not so good. The vibrato a bit too slow, but her main flaw is that she’s not very communicative, she doesn’t make you feel very much at all. In the end, she’s a bit boring. In my opinion, she’s sloppy: not very precise in the rhythm, her technique is not perfect, she doesn’t have enough support (which explains the slow vibrato). The best things were the duets, with Edgardo in the first act, and with Enrico in the second. Which, I mean, for Lucia, is not ideal.

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The production was the usual Germanic madness (from the Zurich opera house): modern clothes, a steel and glass tower, half broken down, to symbolize the decadence of god knows what. The spring near which Lucia and Edgardo meet in the first act becomes a bucket full of water. A bucket. I will never forget that bucket. The disdain of these people for the plot and for the music was very apparent at the end of the opera, where the director, due to malice or ignorance, shows Lucia’s coffin arriving where Edgardo is at the moment, forgetting that he is at the Ravenswoods’ burial place, among “his ancestors’ graves”, as he sings, and not among the graves of the Ashtons. Why on Earth would Lucia’s family take her coffin at their mortal enemies’ burial place? A lady in a white dress, in a sort of Thirties fashion, roams around the stage for the whole opera, representing the ghost Lucia talks about during Regnava nel silenzio. Acting directions to the singers were completely missing: the singers were kind of wondering around in an apparently random fashion. The chorus was completely motionless, which, I must say, helped their performance: the result was really good. After so many operas with chorus members jumping and dancing around, and (of course) unable to keep the pace and find their place in the music, this was very refreshing. We were spared the bloody nightgown, but then Lucia, probably just to spite Tosca, jumps off the tower.

Marco Caria was Enrico, Lucia’s brother. Wonderful timbre, good technique. I liked him, even if I was not overwhelmed. He’s young; we’ll see.

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Raimondo, the priest, was Simon Orfila, who got extremely good reviews. He is actually very good, with a solid technique and a big voice. And he’s good on stage. But his voice has too much metal for me, and he’s a bit too loud and cocky. Don’t get me wrong, I would be happy if there were 10 of him around, but I wasn’t completely convinced.

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