|Emilia||Cassandra Zoé Velasco|
|Scene e luci||Enrique Morales|
|Orquesta Filarmonica de Jalisco|
|Coro Municipal de Zapopan|
After more than thirty years of absence from the stage of the Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, Jalisco (Mexico), Verdi's masterpiece Otello was performed by a very strong cast and by the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco under the baton of maestro Marco Parisotto, with a traditional production by Ragnar Conde.
Four performances were scheduled and this critic attended three of them, witnessing how, in each performance, the cast and the orchestra grew more and more into the music, giving thrilling performances.
The sound of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco is rich, full of colors and, given the magnificent acoustics of the Teatro Degollado, we can say that it has an organic surround system that enriches the role of the orchestra as important tellers and illustrators of the story and the feelings portrayed in the opera. Parisotto conducted with panache, vibrant tempi and fluency. Being an orchestra who is specialized in symphonic music, it has to still mold itself a bit more to blending with singers, specially in the forte parts of the score. Nevertheless, it brought a marvelous, sonorous atmosphere to Verdi's score. The Coro Municipal de Zapopan was fantastic not only in the sound it created but also in the way its members moved on stage. Their entrance in "Una vela, una vela", was impressive!
The three principal singers were making their role debuts as Otello, Desdemona and Iago and it surely showed they were eager to enjoy and give their best in them.
Tenor Issachah Savage sang the difficult role of Otello with a powerful, warm voice, secure high notes and a lovely timbre. His portrayal gave more importance to Otello's inner suffering and conflict rather than showing him as a furious, uncontrollable man. His lower register is firm and round, his middle register is lyrical with certain spinto colors and his high notes are secure. He sings with musicality and a nice legato line. His first duet with Desdemona was beautifully sung and his two arias also showed his vocal qualities at their best. We have to thank Savage for always singing the role and not "barking" it as some Otellos use to do to "portray" his anger. His death scene was very touching.
Maija Kovalevska's Desdemona was a treat for the ears and the eyes. Her voice has grown in size and is now a full lyric soprano perfect for Verdi roles such as this one. It shows that she is a pupil of Mirella Freni, specially in the way she sings this role, which was such an iconic Freni role. Her phrasing is exquisite, her sound blooms in the middle register with warmth and amplitude and she has blazing high notes that fill the theater. As an actress, Kovalevksa portrayed Desdemona as an innocent yet strong woman who faced her death with courage and proving, through this sacrifice, her love for Otello. Her voice soars effortlessly through the orchestra, especially in the concertante of the end of Act III. She sang a very touching "Canzone del Salice" and an ethereal "Ave Maria". Desdemona fits like a glove in Kovalevska's voice and we hope she will keep this role in her repertory and will sing it more often in the future.
Michael Chioldi was a force of nature as Iago. Here is a voice of a true Verdi baritone: big, with impeccable technique, wonderful legato, dark timbre with shining high notes and a clear diction. He also has a magnetic stage presence and embodied Iago to perfection. One of the highlights of the performances was his "Credo in un Dio crudel", which he sang with Machiavellian flavour. His brindisi in Act I was also superbly sung and he knew how to create a rich portrayal of the character, full of nuances and colors, without falling into the confort zone of just being the "bad guy". His scene and duet with Savage's Otello "Desdemona rea?... Era già notte... Sì pel ciel marmoreo guiro" was another highlight of the performance.
Tenor Harold Meers was a handsome, well sung Cassio, singing with lovely lyrical timbre. Cassandra Zoé Velasco sang a noble Emilia, Daniel Montenegro was a strong Roderigo, Josué Cerón sang with elegance the short role of Montano and bass Grigory Soloviov was a commanding vocal and stage presence as Lodovico.
The staging by Ragnar Conde was much more successfull than his recent I Puritani in Bellas Artes. He used the same scenery for all the acts and it was the use of visual projections that made the changes of places and time for each act. Brisa Alonso's costumes looked gorgeous and helped to create a visual concept that sometimes seemed like taken from paintings of the XV or XVI century. There were a couple of details that Conde missed such as the fact that Desdemona has to be in a nightgown during Act IV but instead she was wearing an elegant, beautiful dress, with which she went to bed. He also "hid" Otello in one of the boxes of the theater during the scene of Iago and Cassio talking about the handkerchief in Act III, making it quite illogical that Otello could hear the whole conversation or that Cassio couldn't see him. Apart from that, Conde's staging was 'by the book', gave fluency to the story and was enriched by the singers great acting skills.
Congratulations to the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, to the Teatro Degollado and to all involved in the making of these marvelous performances of Otello. It is very refreshing to know that in Guadalajara, Jalisco, there is the opportunity to enjoy excellent opera performances such as this Otello and to witness the talents of singers, orchestra and chorus that make justice to Verdi's music. Looking forward to seeing next year's opera in Guadalajara!
The review is about the performance of 2016, November 25th
© 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