It was wonderful to hear the roar of the crowd at the end of the opening performance of Simon Boccanegra, and to be backstage afterwards to share in everyone's happiness. This is the effect that Verdi can have.
opera was evolving in late 16th-century Italy, it was originally
intended to recreate Greek tragedy. At the time the belief was that
Greek tragedy had been sung, like a sort of recitative. You can see
this reflected in early operas, which were like composed recitatives,
with the other elements, that reflect more the opera we know now, added
as the artform evolved.
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Posted by Alexander Neef / in Productions / comments (0) / permalink
The great thing about Verdi in general is that he depicts the
emotions of the characters so clearly and strongly and in particular
for the soprano and baritone voices. In our current production of Simon Boccanegra we
have the wonderful examples of the seasoned Paolo Gavanelli and the
young Tamara Wilson, one of the biggest talents of her generation.
In this opera in particular all the characters are so complete, so
credible and human, and the emotions depicted are neither too big nor
too small. There are big things happening in this opera—the
intertwining of a political and personal life, the wonderful
recognition scene between father and daughter—and Verdi handles it
masterfully, setting the emotion of the characters to music like almost
no other piece. You don't really have to know every detail of what's
happening in the plot, you hear the important messages in the music,
directly to your heart; you don't have to filter it through your brain.
I certainly don't have one favourite moment in Simon Boccanegra, because the whole thing is one big favourite moment!
Few people really know Simon Boccanegra,
but once you've seen it, you have to see it again. It's really Verdi's
best unknown opera. 25 years after its premiere in 1857 Verdi reworked
it with Boito, bringing in the Council Chamber scene among other
revisions. It's this 1881 version we're performing now. You can hear
the experience gained through Aida and Don Carlos in his composition. This revision was also done shortly before Otello, which you can almost sense in the making.
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