Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Linda di Chamounix from Firenze


Conductor - Michele Gamba
Production - Cesare Lievi
Linda - Jessica Pratt
Pierotto - Teresa Iervolino
Carlo - Francesco Demuro
Antonio, Linda's father - Vittorio Prato
Maddalena, Linda's mother - Marina De Liso
Il Marchese di Boisfleury, Carlo's uncle - Fabio Capitanucci
Il Prefetto - Michele Pertusi
L'Intendente del feudo - Antonio Gares

Maggio Musicale Fiorentino brings us Donizetti's Linda di Chamounix, 1842.  There are subtitles, but they are in Italian.  The chorus and orchestra are wearing medical masks, so we may assume this performance is current, last week.  

Our heroine has just made her entrance and sings "O luce di quest'anima," the hit tune of this opera.  Well done.  Pierotto is a pants role, and his song does not appear to be part of the story.  Nevertheless, it's good.

There is a stereotypical plot element in this opera.  A male member of the upper class pretends to be poor so he can flirt with girls from the lower classes.  La Donna del LagoRigoletto.  These are some other examples.  Linda is the daughter of tenant farmers in Chamounix, France, though her father is played as far too feeble to be a farmer.  Her boyfriend Carlo is the nephew of  the Marchese who owns the land where Linda's parents farm.  She, of course, does not know this.  I have no idea how Pierotto fits into the plot.
The Marchese wants Linda for some reason and will evict her parents if he cannot take her back to his palace.  This is a new twist.  The Prefetto tells her she must go to Paris with the boys for the winter to escape the Marchese.  Pierotto will take care of her.

The music is very beautiful.  In Act II Linda and Pierotto have a charming duet.  He explains to her that he has not been with her because he has been ill.  She explains that Carlo has been there to help her.  Pierotto leaves, and the Marchese arrivcs and tries to get her to go with him to his palace.  After he has gone, Carlo appears in a military uniform, and they sing of love.  He goes over to her and starts unbuttoning her clothing.  She falls on the floor and appears shocked.  Duet.  He leaves.  

It is convenient how each person appears one at a time.  Next comes padre.  She thinks maybe she should button her clothes before he recognizes her.  She reveals herself, he gets angry, Pierotto tells him and her that Carlo is the Viscount.  He gets really angry, curses her and leaves.

Enough plot.  People aren't behaving as they should.  The role of Linda is HUGE.  It all has a happy ending, which makes it lots less interesting than Lucia, I guess.  There's lots of talking.  You shouldn't expect it to enter standard repertoire any time soon, but it's enjoyable.  Lovely cast.

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