Saturday, 21 May 2016

Nicola Antonio Zingarelli, Giulietta e Romeo, Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele, Haus für Mozart

Concert performance 14th may

During my spontaneous trip back home to Salzburg I had the pleasure to see the performance of an interesting opera rarity that is based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette (this year's motto of the Festival). Zingarelli's music is supposed to be a link between the music of Mozart and Bellini. However the opera sounds much older than it is and I would have guessed that it was written at least 50 years earlier. The whole disposition and the sound is very conventional and not really as exciting as operas by Mozart or Bellini.
However some numbers were really nice and alltogether it was a very pleasing entertaining evening. George Petrou (playing the piano part during the basso continuo parts himself) led the Armonia Atenea and they gave a performance with a broad range of dynamic and dramatic aspects. Especially the final act was really exciting and showed the dramatic flexibility of the ensemble. Also the choir Armonia Atenea did a very good job with very soft and balanced singing.
Juan Sancho and Irini Karaianni gave solid performances in their small roles as Teobaldo and Matilde. Especially Karaianni sang very beautifully in during her appearances with a warm an soft mezzo voice which has a very pleasant timbre. Xavier Sabata sang the role of Gilberto with his countertenor voice. Compared to Fagioli his voice seemed fuller and somewhat more mature which suited the role perfectly.
Bogdan Mihai gave a very nice performance as Giulietta's father Everardo. His light clear tenor voice convincedwith great fexibility and also a very touching interpretation. Especially the realisation that the whole tragedy was his fault in the end or his performance during the "first" death of Juliet showed great artistical talent.
In the role of Giulietta we heard swedish mezzo soprano Ann Hallenberg who has a very soft and warm instrument. Her flexible agile voice seems to be perfect for this kind of repertoire. Especially her death scene was extremely convincing with great emotional singing and a talent for conveying the tragedy of the story just by singing.
However, the vocal highlight of the evening was probably Franco Fagioli as Romeo. I normally am not a fan of countertenor voices, but Fagioli's voice has such an eveness and a really impressive range. I never heard such a beautiful countertenor voice before and it was truly a pleasure to hear him. Also his agility and flexibility was really nice and showed that he is an incredibly talented singer with a very precious instrument.
Alltogether I have to say that this opera might not be the most exciting one, but I had a lovely evening and it was interesting to hear such a rarity. I would give the performance 8 stars.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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