Sunday, 20 September 2015

Giuseppe Verdi, Ernani - Salzburger Festspiele, Großes Festspielhaus

Performance 29th August

As final performance of this year's festival I attended the concert performance of Verdi's Ernani. The performance was led by Riccardo Muti, who is probably the best choice for Verdi. His performances of Verdi operas at the Salzburg festival of those last few years were all really exceptional and so was Ernani. He has a natural sense for the melodies and the musical form of those operas. His young orchestra, the orchestra giovanile Luigi Cherubini, is a great highligh as well for those young musicians play so thrillingly that every small theme in the orchestra becomes a small victory. Everything was played exactly as it should and so a big part of the evening was already bound to be successfull. Also the short backstage appearance of the Mozarteumorchester was fine and lovely played.
The Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor did a fine job as well even though they definitely had better performances this year. They sometimes did not seem totally together and I had the feeling that they did not have enough time to fully inhale the score.
In the smaller roles we heard Gianfranco Montresor, Antonello Ceron and Simge Büyükedes as Jago, Don Riccardo and Giovanna. Especially Büyükedes impressed me a lot for she had a very beautiful dark voice with a warm timbre and actually looked more noble than Donna Elvira.
Don Carlo was sung by Luca Salsi with a profound and very aggressive baritone voice. The timbre of the voice suited the future Emperor quite well and his portrayal was really ravishing and full of emotion.
My personal highlight of the evening was Ildar Abdrazakov as Silva. His huge bass voice has a very dark and profound timbre. He was able to put all the evilness of his character into his singing and gave a genuinely brilliant performance. His phrasing and his interpretation show great musical intellect and I enjoyed every minute of his singing. Bravo!
Vittoria Yeo sang Donna Elvira and did a good job. She managed to sing it appropriately but I also do have to say that she definitely does not really have the perfect voice for it. The problem of Donna Elvira is that it actually is a very low role that also calls for a light and easy higher register. A dramatic coloratura with lyric qualities would be the perfect cast. Yeo managed the coloraturas without any problems but in the lower parts she seemed not to be totally comfortable. Anyway her performance was still really good.
Italian tenor Francesco Meli sang the title part and was great as well. He found the perfect balance between the contrasting lyric and dramatic parts of this role. His phrasing was great and he definitely understands what it means to bring life to a role. His stamina is huge (I do have to say that I sat in the front, but you could tell that his voice filled the auditorium) and actually I sometimes had the feeling that he sang too loud. He seemed to switch between two levels: loud and extremely loud. If he did work a little bit on dynamics he would definitely be able to do a perfect performance.
I really enjoyed the whole performance and liked the opera very much even though the plot is complete nonsense (like most Verdi plots). The quality of the singers and the orchestra was marvelous and so I would give Ernani 8 stars.

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