If you have never seen Alceste, you ought to have a look/listen at this fairly recent production of Gluck’s 1737 opera about the faithful love unto death between King Admeto and his beloved Queen Alceste.
By the time the German-born Gluck reigned supreme in Parisian theatres, the singer-centric ways of his predecessors had all but given way to a more straightforward marriage of text and music, with no showy singing pyrotechnics or vocal grandstanding anywhere within earshot
Here Alceste is given an elegant staging by director/designer Pier Luigi Pizzi, with the orchestra and chorus of the gorgeous La Fenice theatre nicely led by the young French conductor Guillaume Tourniaire. The production features in the central roles of the King and Queen of Thessaly, tenor Marlin Miller and soprano Carmela Remigio, both excellent singing actors.
You don’t have to be a Mozart connoisseur to appreciate the fact that the one-act opera Il Sogno di Scipione (Scipio’s Dream) has some riches worth discovering, including a dozen arias and a couple of choruses that have the Mozart signature written all over them.
Amazingly Mozart wrote this while still an unknown youth in Salzburg, but most likely never saw a full staging of this youthful work. Here, thanks to the enterprising La Fenice theatre you will enjoy the efforts of a promising cast of half a dozen young singers ideally suited to Mozart’s vocal writing in an unfussy, good looking production staged by Elena Barbalich. They are beautifully led by Federico Maria Bardelli.
As is the case with many other Opera Vision offerings one can also watch Il Sogno di Scipione on You Tube.
Antonello Manacorda magisterially leads the superb orchestra of Brussels’ La Monnaie, and Tobias Kratzer helms this modern-dress production of Lucio Silla, Mozart’s 1772 rarity about lust for flesh and power in ancient Rome.
The six-person cast of four sopranos and two tenors calls for some formidable singers to sing virtuosic music and to portray a sorry lot of less than palatable characters in a convoluted plot involving political wrongdoings, love betrayals and little in the way of redeemable human qualities.
The production is preceded by a video that shows all manner of signs of wealth and power including scenes of the Kennedy clan in their Hyannis Port swimming pool, Vladimir Putin shucking oysters, shiny Mercedes limousines, Kim Jong-Ung beaming at the camera, and other disconcerting imagery. Worth checking out..? Yes, if only to bask in the genius of the mature Mozart.
Rafael de Acha http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com