The Sicilian Vespers

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The Sicilian Vespers

Postby Barry » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:19 pm

Teatro Regio, Parma, October 13th 2010

I can't tell you the plot of this but even so I was overwhelmed. Well sitting in this lovely theatre in the best seat, with well over a hundred people on stage, singing their hearts out, it was hard not to let one's jaw drop. And what I love about this theatre is that it has none of the crap usually associated with opera. It is very friendly, and there is no barrier between performers and audience - especially in this production where a lot of the choruses were sung from different parts of the auditorium, and the principals in moment of high drama walked about the audience, singing as they went. to have Leo Nucci singing barely a foot away from me, his eyes so focussed, was remarkable. Maybe it is a sign of financial cuts, but the production was quite stark, but for me this was stunning. A huge raked stage, filling the space and drifting off into a black void. For act one, we had three beached rowing boats, then a glimpse of some delicate chairs and a mirror that filled the whole of upstage, reflecting the audience (again breaking down the barrier), then some prison bars that filled the width of the stage, and finally the curtains parted after a scene in the audience to reveal a white altar. Its starkness and beauty took my breath away. Most of the costumes were black or dark blue uniforms lit beautifull, and it was simply ravishing. Some extraordinarily complex musical sturctures and Verdi seemed to be playing with silence here and unaccompanied quartets....having members of the cast 100 feet away in the audience can't have made it easier. A staggering evening, long, brutal, moving, and utterly slick. Opera at its non literal best, celebrating the artifice and yet working stupendously. I really never want to look at a realistic set ever again. The poetry in this stage was stunning.
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