Saturday, January 12, 2019

Adriana Lecouvreur in HD

Conductor:  Gianandrea Noseda
Production:  David McVicar

Adriana Lecouvreur, an actress:  Anna Netrebko
Maurizio, the Count of Saxony:  Piotr Beczala
Princess di Bouillon, also in love with Maruizio:  Anita Rachvelishvili
Prince di Bouillon, her husband:  Maurizio Muraro
Michonnet, stage manager:  Ambrogio Maestri

Today the metropolitan Opera brought us Francesco Cilèa's Adriana Lecouvreur in HD.  Our host was Matthew Polenzani.  The opera is from 1902 in the era of verismo.

It was a single set production with a raised stage area in the center.  This was useful in portraying an opera about an historical figure who was an actress.  Most of the scenes have some kind of performance, including a ballet.  I enjoyed when the stage was shown from the angle of the wings, always my favorite perspective.

Gianandrea Noseda shaped the music in the most beautiful way.  Today was my best reaction to his conducting.  In his interview he expressed his respect for the vocal performers.

At the beginning we see that Adriana has not heard from her lover whom she believes to be a soldier away at battle.  She is preparing for her entrance where she plays Roxane, the heroine of Cyrano de Bergerac, I believe.  He comes in, woos her ardently and arranges to meet her after the play.  Adriana's most beautiful arias "Io son l'umile ancella" comes in this act. The plot is a bit hard to follow here.  Who exactly is Duclos?  Her name is not listed in the cast. Maurizio receives a letter and cancels on Adriana.  He is obviously a cad whatever his feelings might be.  Michonnet wants Adriana to marry him.

Not to be outdone, the Princess sings "Acerba voluttà, dolce tortura" while anxiously awaiting the arrival of Maurizio.  Again more plot complexities.  Maurizio arrives, Adriana arrives and figures out who Maurizio actually is, the Princess's husband arrives and they sneak her out of the meeting place without Adriana discovering who she is.  By the end of the opera everyone has discovered the identity of everyone else, Adriana is angry with the Princess and insults her, and finally Adriana is poisoned with flowers, aria "Poveri fiori".  The person who deserves the anger, the Count of Saxony, gets off.

The plot confusion interferes with ones overall pleasure.  It's rather like a murder mystery.  The music is sweet and not at all murder-mystery-like.  The cast is spectacular.  Ambrogio Maestri is very sweet as the stage manager in love with Adriana.  I have only seen him as Falstaff.

Anita rose to her angry bitch character to make the perfect foil for Anna  Piotr convincingly wooed both women, demonstrating his skills at seduction.

But this performance belonged to Anna Netrebko, intense in every scene, the diva incarnate.  All hail Anna.  Perhaps I will go again on Wednesday.
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P.S  A commenter left this on Facebook:

Roxane here is a character of "Bajazet" which is a tragedy by Racine. That is why at some point Adriana is called Gran Sultana. This is about the character she was portraying in first act. (Cyrano de Bergerac was written at very end of 19th Century. Therefore Lecouvreur could not have played it).

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