I've just returned from a magnificent performance of Karol Szymanowski's King Roger, the fifth and last of this year's operas in Santa Fe for me. I've known the piece for a long time, seen a few productions and even prepared one for the Paris Opera, but I still can't tell you what it really is about. It's an enigmatically beautiful piece with gorgeous, colourful music and at each encounter I resist classifying it as l'art pour l'art despite its truly artificial orientalisms and a libretto that couldn't be more obscure. But then, when the king and his queen are as wonderfully sung as by Mariusz Kwiecien and Erin Morley tonight, does it really matter what it all means?
After performances of Tosca and Pearl Fishers the true highlight of my time in Santa Fe was the performance of Rossini's Maometto II yesterday evening. A strangely neglected piece, this is a masterfully crafted opera seria with loads of incredible music telling the story of the siege of the Venetian city Negroponte by Maometto's army. Of course, Maometto is in love with Anna, the Venetian commander's daughter, but he has conveniently decided not to tell her his real name. Anna knows him as Oronte. You can imagine the trouble that ensues. David Alden's intelligent production was supported by a wonderful cast led by Luca Pisaroni's Maometto and Leah Crocetto's Anna. Two great artists for whom this production is a true milestone in their careers. Performances like Maometto II are more than a good reason to make the long way to Santa Fe. I'm glad I could be here again this year.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (1) / permalink
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