INTERNATIONAL OPERA REVIEW
Rossini, Il Viaggio a Reims: Soloists, Orquesta-Escuela de la Sinfónica de Madrid.Conductor, Eun Sun Kim 21.4.2010 (JMI)
Production by Teatro Real.
Direction: Emilio Sagi.
Sets: Emilio Sagi.
Costumes: Pepa Ojanguren.
Lighting: Eduardo Bravo.
Corinna: Eugenia Boix.
M. Melibea: Silvia Beltrami.
C.Folleville: Dusica Bijelic.
M. Cortese: Federica Giansanti.
C. Belfiore: Alessandro Luciano.
C. Liebenskof: Enrico Iviglia.
Lord Sidney: Elier Muñoz.
Don Profondo: Román Ialcic.
B. Trombonok: Marco Filippo Romano.
Don Álvaro: Juan Pablo Dupré.
Don Prudenzio: Stefano Cianci.
Don Luigino: Bartomeu Guiscafré.
Delia: Rosella Cerioni.
Maddalena: Maite Maruri.
Modestina: Laia Cortez Calafell.
Antonio: Pablo García Ruiz.
Zefirino/Gelsomino: Gerardo López.
Picture Here – Viaggio_0062.jpg
After the success of their Ópera-Estudio project last year with Don Pasquale, Teatro Real repeated the experience with Il Viaggio a Reims, with Raúl Giménez as vocal coach for the young cast. Last year’s success of last year was also repeated this time, although not all the young singers on stage had the same desirable quality.
What happened to this Rossini opera in recent years is slightly curious. When the score was first rediscovered in the 1980s, the opera was performed with real splendour at some of Europe’s great opera houses with Claudio Abbado conducting and with a truly starry cast. Barely 20 years later, the Rossini Festival in Pesaro changed that model and presented the opera as a showcase for young singers. The success of that project is now an established fact, and for the last 9 years the opera has always been in the annual Rossini Festival programme. Something similar has happened in Spain, using the same Emilio Sagi production seen in Pesaro, which has already been staged in several different Spanish locations and France has also followed the same pattern. There, Nicola Berlofa’s production has combined the resources of a number of French opera houses, once again with young singers in the cast.
Emilio Sagi’s production has been seen by many opera- goers and the truth is that it has always gained the favour of its audiences. I have said many times before that it is in fact, the most profitable stage production in the whole history of opera. The last time I saw it was in Bilbao’s Teatro Arriaga and this is what I wrote then…
Musical direction was entrusted to the winner of the last Lopez Cobos conducting contest, Korean Eun Sun Kim, currently Lopez Cobos’ assistant at Teatro Real. Her reading was interesting and more than merely correct with lively tempos and only a couple of minor coordination problems between stage and pit… This does not overshadow a really good performance. This was a surprisingly good execution by the young orchestra, considerably better than last year in Don Pasquale. Some of the credit is certainly due to Ms Kim.
The current cast, as on other occasions, was formed mostly by young singers some of whom have very interesting qualities. Most interesting was the Aragonese soprano Eugenia Boix as Corinna. At 28 years of age she is a more than pleasant soprano, with good doses of musical expressiveness and a good line in singing. She also cuts a pleasant figure on stage and I think that we will hear from her in the near future. A very good impression was also made by Italian bass-baritone Marco Filippo Romano (another 28 year old) in the character of Baron Trombonok. He is a true basso buffo, with an engaging voice even if its volume is not excessive. He is an excellent actor too and I am also convinced that there is a career ahead for him.
Alessandro Luciano (30) produced a very well suited light tenor to his role as Chevalier Belfiore. The timbre is pleasant, he knows how to handle the voice and he is also a decent actor. His largest handicap is that his vocal volume is quite small. I should also mention in this group, the Italian mezzo soprano (36) Silvia Beltrami in the part of Marchesa Melibea. She has a fine voice in the middle range and she has an excellent coloratura.
There was a second group of less outstanding singers, but who also left favourable impressions at least partially. Each of them had some good qualities to be weighed against some problems that needed work. The Italian tenor Enrico Iviglia was a good Count Liebenskof, with a very easy top but a not always pleasant voice. Chilean baritone Juan Pablo Dupré showed a good vocal material as Don Álvaro, but is still rather immature as singer. Another Italian, the soprano Federica Giansanti, in the part of Madame Cortese, who offered a fairly unremarkable voice with big differences in quality between registers: some elements were really rather good and others decidedly less so.
The least interesting group was formed by Bosnian soprano Dusica Bijelic as Countess Folleville, who is really a kind of soubrette without much interest otherwise. The Cuban baritone Elier Muñoz (Lord Sidney) had a small voice that was poorly projected and Moldovan bass Román Ialcic was Don Profondo, rather uninteresting for much of the time and with a poor Italian diction.In the supporting roles, the women were better than men, although no one was especially outstanding.
The theatre had some empty seats, though not many. The public enjoyed the performance and offered a very warm reception to all the artists. The greatest enthusiasms were for Eugenia Boix, Enrico Iviglia and Marco Filippo Romano, as well as for Eun Sun Kim and Emilio Sagi.
José M Irurzun