|Enrico||Juan Carlos Heredia|
|Arturo||Leonardo Joel Sánchez|
|Scene e luci||Philippe Armand|
Coro e Orquesta del Teatro de Bellas Artes
After ten years of absence from the stage of the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Gaetano Donizetti's masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor came to life again with a new production by Enrique Singer with a very strong cast led by Siberian soprano Irina Dubrovskaya as Lucia, Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas, baritone Juan Carlos Heredia and Venezuelan bass Ernesto Morillo as Raimondo. Maestro Srba Dinic led the Orquesta and Chorus of the Teatro de Bellas Artes.
Mexican audiences have been very lucky with the sopranos that have sung Lucia in Bellas Artes in the past: María Callas, Winifred Faix-Brown, Graciela de los Ángeles and Eglise Gutiérrez, to name a few. All of them left fond memories of this opera and this particular role and now we can add the name of Irina Dubrovskaya to this list. Her Lucia was vocally perfect, singing with lovely legato, gorgeous tone and blazing, secure high notes. She is also very pretty so, physically, she was very believable as the bride of Lammermoor. Dubrovskaya's voice floats beautifully in the piani and her staccati echoeing the flute in the Mad Scene were pitch perfect. It runs effortlessly through the theater and showed Lucia's fragility and vulnerability, specially in the first act. "Regnava nel silenzio" was gorgeous and her phrasing is elegant and lovely. Her duets with Vargas's Edgardo and Heredia´s Enrico were beautifully sung. The only minor problem came in the way she acted the role. It could be said it was a Lucia portrayal as was done in the past: fragile, vulnerable, not strong enough to fight against her brother not to commit the murder of her husband, etc... But the element that was lacking the most, apart from seeing more nuances in her acting, was the madness itself. We never saw her going even slightly mad. She seemed more depressed that crazy.
Her Mad Scene lacked dramatism, not because of Dubraovskaya's singing but because of Singer's staging. He decided to put Lucia in the middle of an "ocean" of blood, represented by a big, red cloth that was moved to look like waves, with Lucia emerging from the middle as if drowning in a pool of blood. The visual effect was stunning but made the soprano stay still almost through all the first part of the aria without projecting any sense of madness. She then came out of the "waves of blood" and approached the proscenium wearing a night gown without any stain of blood. We never see her coming out with the dagger with which she killed Arturo. The chorus was off stage during the first part of the aria and only three dancers (who looked more like the three witches in Macbeth) were used throughout the opera as ghosts from Lucia's past, were around her. Another ghost was used too: one representing the lady from the fountain that Lucia describes in "Regnava nel silenzio". That lady-ghost was used as an apparition whose dress was stained with blood. The "voice of the flute" during the part of the cadenza was supposed to come out of this spectral figure as if it was talking to Lucia. They cut the scene where Enrico comes in and sees Lucia mad "S'avanza Enrico... Non mi guardar sì fiero" and went straight to "Spargi d'amaro pianto", this time, with the chorus watching Lucia going "mad" but there was still no madness in Dubrovskaya's acting. She ended the aria with a gorgeous high note and fainted into the arms of the ladies of the chorus. It was a musically perfect performance, with all the notes and the gorgeous bel canto singing, she only needs to work on giving Lucia more nuances and a development of her madness.
One of the main attractions of this Lucia was listening to Vargas's Edgardo for the first time in his native city. Having sung the role all over the world and being his favorite role in his repertory, Vargas gave a marvelous performance, showing why he captivated audiences worldwide with his interpretation of Lucia's doomed lover. The voice is darker now in the middle range, his high notes are secure and rounder; his phrasing is beautiful and he captured Edgardo's anger and desperation during the second act perfectly. He gave the role the necessary nuances and sang a larger-than-life final scene "Tombe degli avi miei... Tu che a Dio spiegasti l'ali". His voice blended perfectly with Dubrovskaya and she grew a lot, acting wise, while interacting with Vargas. He gave a masterclass on how belcanto has to be sung.
Young Mexican baritone Juan Carlos Heredia, who recently won the Zarzuela Prize in Operalia 2016, was a strong, diabolic Enrico. His voice sounds young and fresh, perfect for the music that Donizetti gave to Lucia's brother. He has an imposing stage presence and knows how to move on stage gracefully. He sang with panache his aria "Cruda funesta smania" and gave the character the strength and cruelty to make him a credible villain. His duet with Dubrovskaya was one of the highlights of the performance.
Venezuelan bass Ernesto Morillo was an impressive Raimondo, making it his own and showing that this ungrateful role can be very rewarding if sung and acted with the intensity and passion with which he performed it. He sang with a voice that sounded dark and powerful. His aria "Ah" cedi, cedi o più sciagure... Al ben de'tuoi qual vittima" was sung with great musical taste and elegant phrasing. His "Ah! Dalle stanze ove Lucia" was very touching and the audience responded to it with a thunderous ovation. Tenor Gilberto Amaro was a wonderful Normanno, singing with lovely tone and showing the character's evil nature. Mezzosoprano Gabriela Flores was a lovely Alisa and sang with nice tone. Tenor Leonardo Joel Sánchez was a youthful and charming Arturo and sang with good taste and warm tone.
Maestro Srba Dinic has become an expert in conducting belcanto masterpieces for Bellas Artes. After last year's I Puritani, he now comes back conducting a very sparkling and brilliant Lucia di Lammermoor. He phrases perfectly with the singers and his tempi are precise and help the opera flow perfectly. He knows how to balance the sound of the orchestra without covering the singers and the Orquesta del Teatro de Bellas Artes sounded very well, excepto for a couple of pitch problems of the horns. The Coro del Teatro de Bellas Artes sang with their usual rich sound, clear diction and moving very well on stage in Singer's visually channelling own "Mannequin Challenge". He made them stand still in certain moments, trying to make them frame the action and looking like a paiting from the XVII century.
Singer's staging had some very interesting and visually gorgeous scenes but in some moments the action seemed to be still for too long, specially during the duets and scenes where the main characters had to stand in certain spots of the stage to be literally framed to look as if they were coming out of a paiting. There were paintings within a big frame on stage. Sometimes he made his singers step into the proscenium so they could change the scenery in the back. Visually, there were three scenes that were extraordinary: the second scene of the second act, with all the guests in Lucia's wedding, the first part of the Mad Scene and the entrance of the male chorus in the last scene with Edgardo.
All in all, it was a great performance of one of Donizetti's most beloved operas. A great opportunity to listen to this masterpiece after a ten years abscence, a chance to get to listen the gorgeous voice of Irinia Dubrovskaya as Lucia and a pleasure to hear one of operas finest Edgardo's of the last twenty five years: Ramón Vargas.
The review is about the perfomance of 2017, Feb. 27th.
© OperaClick Tutti i diritti riservati. È vietato l'utilizzo anche parziale di qualsiasi pagina di questo sito senza autorizzazione
Autorizzazione del tribunale di Milano n° 696 dell’8 ottobre 2004 - P. Iva: 04237170966