14.10.16 The Flames Raged On News

Foto: Brian Crocker

ENGLISCH: With raging flames and red-hot emotions of love and revenge, Il Trovatore at the Aurora Opera House turned out to be a rapturous success. Opera night, on October 11th 2014 reminded us all what it means to be part of opera in Gozo; to be part of opera at the Aurora.  

Bekannt: 16 Oktober 2014

Trovatore Event

General Rehearsals Photo Album Icon

It means a guarantee of world-class level when it comes to singers. When expectations run high, one gets more susceptible and exposed to the danger of letting down, or not living up to the name. But, notwithstanding the guarantees their CVs and prior engagements offer, all members of the cast mesmerized the audiences in a superlatively positive way.

Michele Crider in the role of Leonora had a superb Tosca (2011) that the Aurora audiences could compare her to. With a slight cold adding a degree of uneasiness, the odds were not so much in her favour, but Crider bravely defied them all. The more she sang, the better she became. Hers was an exquisite presence with a rendition skillfully mastered as much as she graciously carried her costumes.

Her two lovers, the unbeknown brothers, were two seasoned stalwarts. Marzio Giossi was Conte di Luna. Returning after 2003 (Barbiere di Siviglia), 2005 (Fedora), 2007 (La Forza del Destino), 2008 (La Boheme) and 2013 (Falstaff), Giossi’s name is a mark of consistent quality and guaranteed finesse. Year in, year out, he always proves right those who repeatedly engage him – kind of, the good side of the “more of the same”.

Stuart Neill, on the other hand was the new face; big and jolly in person, grand and charming in voice Neill sang the role of Manrico, the troubadour. If scenically, his large physique might deviate from a stereotypical iconography of the troubadour, vocally he was just what Verdi might have wanted to listen to. He won Leonora’s heart – and if he won it with ease and conviction like that with which he won the audience’s hearts, then Leonora’s attempt at the cloister and suicide can be easily understood. Yes, the audience fell in love with Stuart, so the encore of “Di quella pira…” should have come to one’s surprise!

Another revelation was Mzia Nioradze in the very important role of Azucena, the gypsy who – character-wise – stands at the heart of this all. She stood out as exceptional as from the first rehearsals, and it was no wonder that she surprised the audiences so much. The character of Azucena was one close at heart to Verdi. He loved Azucena and treated her with dignity and importance. Nioradze undertook the role with great responsibility and mastery. Her powerhouse voice and her superior acting skills helped her convey the rollercoaster of emotions that Azucena brings to the fiery plot, from her first narration in “Stride la vampa” until the final passionate and revengeful exclamation “egli era tuo fratello!”.

14.10.16 The Flames Raged On News2
The other supporting members of cast, including Emanuele Cordaro, Bernard Busuttil and May Caruana added a bright sparkle to the show. They showed clever understanding of their roles, commitment and potential in their interpretation, and determination to grow in their respective vocal dimensions so that they can affront the larger roles their counterparts were tackling by their side.

Novella Tabili designed the sets. In her concept, very close to the Italian tradition, these were kept free from disproportionate frills that distract the viewers’ attention from the power of music and lyrics. Sets were complemented by the costumes and props, which, graphically and visually, blended like one comprehensive work of art. In this regard, the Aurora Opera Chorus and extras can also be praised for exercising their vocal and scenic duty prudently and vigilantly. Eye (and ear!) to detail by chorus master Colin Attard were pretty much audible, rounding up a very tasteful musical package the audiences were treated with. Both choir and (Malta Philharmonic) Orchestra responded effectively to his ever maturing conducting.

Il Trovatore (2014) and Il Trovatore (1994) might have had a conductor with the same name and surname, but certainly, the 2014 Colin Attard is not the same one of 1994. With 20 years of opera conducting and a career of other experiences, Attard earns a place on the list of the most distinguished orchestra conductors of Malta (and Gozo).

This was greatly appreciated by the audience that filled the Aurora Opera House to capacity and made the islands’ leading opera hub even more resplendent. With Colin Attard taking his baton a few minutes after 7.30pm, Il Trovatore came to a dramatic conclusion, with a raucous curtain-call, around 11.15pm. The people – many of them (most probably) still humming the impressively produced Anvil Chorus – were fascinated and engrossed with the product. Complements and comments flew across the foyers as from the moment hall-lights were on again. That was indeed one happy audience that saluted this hard-working opera house of ours.

And it was also one happy theatre that shone on that special night, in the company of its own people, very dear friends and highly esteemed audience.

News from the Theatre Icon