De Rolando Villazón como Don Carlo hemos hablado muy poco o nada en este blog. Hoy pongo el primero de dos post consecutivos sobre ello: éste es una colaboración que nos ha enviado Liz, sobre el DVD Don Carlo (Amsterdam 2004) y el próximo post, sobre el Don Carlo de la ROH, en 2008.
Don Carlo (Italian 4-act). Amsterdam Opera 2004.
Produción: Willy Decker
Rolando Villazón (Carlo)
Robert Lloyd (Filippo)
Amanda Roocroft (Elisabetta)
Violeta Urmana (Eboli)
Dwayne Croft (Posa)
Jaakko Ryhänen (Inquisitor)
Director: Riccardo Chailly
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Chorus Nederlandse Opera
DON CARLO AMSTERDAM 2004
My first impression was of the look of the production. It is just so drab! The scenery (such as it is) and all of the costumes are grey. The three principals, Carlo, Filippe and Elisabetta are dressed in a paler grey than the other characters (to emphasise that they are the Royal Family?). Apart from the red (blood red?) of the Grand Inquisitor’s outfit the look is of unrelieved grey. The set is narrow, high and very confining and does convey well the rigidity claustrophobia of the Spanish Court. (I may be shallow but as a fan of the Zefferelli approach to opera sets I did long for some colour and spectacle!).
As for the performances I thought the standard varied. Leaving aside the debate as to whether he was wise to sing such a role, Rolando Villazon is hugely impressive in the title role. I believe he sings it with great insight and delicacy - ok so I’m biased! His phrasing is perfect. His first aria is critical to our understanding of the opera as the original first act set in Fontainebleau is omitted in this version. It is an immense challenge to launch into such a difficult piece of music without any opportunity to warm up the voice and Rolando handled it superbly. The duet with Rodrigo (also very well played by Dwayne Croft) which follows is just incredibly beautiful. On the down side I was not so keen on Rolando’s acting of this character. He was just too twitchy for my liking, looking at times as though he was auditioning for Hamlet! I can only suppose he had been given some heavy handed direction as he is generally much more subtle.
Although Carlo is the title role, in many ways Filippo is the central character. A nice piece of mime with Carlo at the beginning establishes him as the “father from hell”. Robert Lloyd is very convincing in the role having great stage presence and he evokes a range of emotions from fear to pity (his aria lamenting his wife’s lack of love for him is very poignant). His scene with the Grand Inquisitor is very powerful and sets out the conflict between Filippo’s position both as a father and as a ruthless king determined to hold onto power. It also explores the ideological debate, Church versus State. This is the first Italian opera I have seen which explores ideas as well as emotions.
As for the female characters I thought Eboli played by Violeta Urmana was excellent, she has a great voice and presence – though I did think that Don Carlo badly needed a pair of spectacles if he mistook her for Elisabetta!
I was not as keen on the performance of Amanda Croft as Elisabetta. I found her voice very shrill when she stretched for high notes. She was also burdened not only her drab costume but also by horrible make up. We can see from the “behind the scenes” part of the DVD that she is in fact pretty but her makeup makes her look 10 years older and ugly!
As far as I am concerned there is one outright star of this opera – VERDI! I was completely overwhelmed by the magnificence of the music and the masterly control of such an immense subject. So much so that I have now ordered a copy of the French version (with Alagna?) and bought tickets for the Covent Garden production in September (with Jonas Kaufman). In the meantime I will be watching this version again for the glorious music and of course Rolando!!!
Thanks, Liz !
Thanks, Liz !
del Bonus DVD
Io l'ho perduta