from which they move according to dramatic requirements. In the background they, as members of the hidebound organization Tito leads, are seated at bureaucrats’ desks. Following the attempted assassination at the end of Act 1, the desks are overturned and all the characters smeared with grease and smoke.
Sung with firm, bright and clear tone, and visually presented as a CEO lacking in self-belief, Bror Magnus Tødenes’s Tito ponders long and hard before assuming his chain of office. When he does so, the offstage chorus acclaims him while the other principals respond with appropriate hand gestures, including clapping. Everything he does is with the best intentions, but he’s in a constant state of moral uncertainty.
There’s an inherent fierceness to Beate Mordal’s Vitellia, who registers as adept at getting her own way and taking pleasure in her sense of power over Sesto. Coping well with her part’s wide range, she moves fluently and expressively around the notes; she, like the other singers, is given sufficient latitude to do so by Gardner. The obbligato woodwind interventions are excellent throughout.
Sung by Adrian Angelico, Sesto is presented as weak and submissive to Vitellia’s constantly changing demands, and deeply conflicted in ‘Parto, parto’, its showpiece elements matching the meaning of the text. Ingeborg Gillebo’s Annio is deeply sympathetic and vocally ideal. Frøy Hovland Holtbakk’s sweetly sung Servilia makes all her contributions tell. Presented as Tito’s PA/bodyguard, Christian Valle’s Publio supplies a solid presence both physically and vocally, and also makes something meaningful out of what is occasionally viewed as a surplus-to-requirements aria. george hall
SPAIN Las Palmas The 2021 season of the amigos canarios de la ópera, its 54th, opened with Il trovatore (seen February 27) and is scheduled to run until June, bringing productions of Adriana Lecouvreur, La Cenerentola, Cavalleria rusticana and Macbeth. The Rossini will be presented at Gran Canaria’s opera house, the Teatro Pérez Galdós, but the venue for Il trovatore, as for the remainder of the season, was the multipurpose auditorio alfredo kraus, which can accommodate an audience of 650 under socially distanced conditions.
Carlo Antonio De Lucia’s staging and Claudio Martín’s costumes were in a traditional vein. Carlos Santos’s simple set design, lit by Iban Negrín, essentially comprised three tiered flats on either side of the stage. Projected onto them were videos, the work of the GraffMapping studio. Imaginative and atmospheric, they raised the emotional temperature—not least when flames rose up during ‘Di quella pira’—in a production that was more notable for ‘stand and sing’ than detailed characterization.
Though he took a little while to warm up, Arturo Chacón-Cruz made a commanding and highly musical Manrico, whose stretta and top Cs were encored. Saioa Hernández, now a singer of choice at La Scala, sang Leonora with luminosity, power and technical assurance (a precarious top note in ‘Tacea la notte’ notwithstanding), reaching her peak in ‘D’amor sull’ali rosee’. Massimo Cavalletti, striking a fine figure, was warm-toned and expressive as Luna, but the star performance came from Nancy Fabiola Herrera, who brought Azucena to multifaceted life. Conducting the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, Jordi Bernàcer gave proof of his sense of Verdian style. klaus billand
Opera, May 2021