Excellent performers and elegant scenes: an announced success, although not everything went as planned in this new production of Otello, who is the Moor of Venice by Rossini that the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liége proposes as the last title of the year. In the first place, maestro Gianluigi Gelmetti should have been on the podium but, as we know, he left us prematurely last August and director Maurizio Benini was called in his place, who wanted to dedicate the show to Gelmetti. The role of Othello was then entrusted to Sergey Romanovsky, but for health reasons he was finally made a substitute for the first performances. To be precise, the Russian tenor appeared on stage at the premiere while announcing his not perfect vocal conditions, because he really wanted to secure the show, but after the first few sentences it was clear to everyone that he could not continue and remained in support. . the stage part while the vocal part was sung by another Russian, Anton Rositskiy, a voice clearer than that of Romanovsky which with its barinotaleggiante timbre is more suitable for the Moorish, but a really pleasant surprise for the beauty of the line and the singing ability. And so, even if Romanovsky had to cancel the singing for some later performances, the show is in any case satisfactorily assured, thanks also to the other excellent performers: Salome Jicia is an intense, passionate Desdemona, torn between love for Othello. . and for his father, vocally impeccable; the other Russian tenor in the cast, Maxim Mironov, is a Rodrigo all in delicacy; bass Luca dall’amico is an authoritative Elmiro, perfect for the role; Catania’s tenor Giulio Pelligra is a treacherous and spy Iago who sings righteously; Emilia is the young, charming and half Belgian Julie Bailly.
The story is updated at the beginning of the 20th century, directed by the Spanish Emilio Sagi, a single scene for the three acts (divided here into two parts with a single interval) consisting of a room, chaired by a staircase and large windows, which it is filled from time to time with the scenic elements necessary to advance the intrigue. And so, for example, in the ending Desdemona does not sleep on her bed but on a couch and dies strangled on the stairs. Scenes, signed by Daniel Bianco, that work, although it is not clear, since no one is about to leave, the reason why at one point the suitcases and furniture covered by white sheets; and the game with the head of the newly inaugurated bust of the leader could have been avoided because it does not make anyone laugh. But the style, that of a refined operetta from the early twentieth century, is altogether very pleasant, a sensation also accentuated by the beautiful costumes, quite faithful to the fashion of the time, signed by Gabriela Salaverri. It is also worth mentioning the careful play of light by Eduardo Bravo that at times gives the impression of watching an old silent movie and that, in the end, well suggests the storm of thunder and lightning that is unleashed. Curiously there is no reference to Venice, the elegant room could be anywhere in Europe, in fact more than in the sea it seems to be in a mountain place, if it were not for the appearance of the gondolier’s song, sung with the necessary melancholy for Pierre. Derhet.
Salome Jicia is very good at a neat and moving Willow Song, like the trio Rodrigo, Otello, Desdemona “Ah come” had been exciting before. The orchestra, on the other hand, at first appears a bit blurry and the same impression of the chorus, then for both the interpretation becomes more precise and compact, with a well-controlled crescendo. The musical direction, as well as the direction, generally quite traditional, but which guarantee a satisfying show both musically and visually. A final warm applause for everyone, even if there cannot be more than two hundred people in the room according to the health regulations in force in Belgium.
From December 19 to 31 at the Opera de Liège, on January 6 at the Palais des Beaux Arts de Charleroi.
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