Saturday, July 18, 2015

Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.

Belcanto operas are known to be super-difficult to stage because of the poor librettos. Most of the belcanto productions are truly dreadful and the common attitude is that the concert versions of operas operas are far better and more efficient than the staged attempts to make the lame-ass librettos look plausible on stage.

Christof Loy’s take at I Capuletti e I Montecchi at Zurich Opera — the house run by the unsurpassable Andreas Homoki — is an example of precisely the opposite. He turned this butchered text of Romeo and Juliet into a SUPERB theater piece — premiered las month at the 2015 Zurich Opera Festival. His outstanding staging is based on mafia rivalry and highly inspired by The Godfather and the direction that respected the timings of this opera to a precision that only can fills you with awe and respect for the director. It takes a village… so this show wouldn’t be as fantastic if it was without the sensational cast lead by Olga Kulchynska (what a superb singer!), always reliable and brilliant Joyce DiDonato, as well as Benjamin Bernheim (!) in one of his finest interpretations.

To me this is clearly the best Christof Loy production of a belcanto opera since his La Donna del Lago in Geneva — which was unfortunately never broadcast or recorded on DVD (I should emphasize that I loathed his Lucrezia Borgia despite the rave reviews it received at the time it was premiered in Munich).

As much as I thought Fabio Luisi was awkward in Wagner, I thought he was the master of the Universe while conducting this opera…

Major props are due to Christian Schmidt for sets and costumes.

This compelling show --which is a rarity today!-- can be seen on Arte on this link

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