NABUCCO in Firenze
Giuseppe Verdi: NABUCCO
Firenze, Italy, Giuseppe Verdi
Firenze, Italy, Teatro Comunale, 2014 january 24th
FIRENZE/ITALY: Nabucco comes back to Florence after almost forty years from its last staging that was conducted by Riccardo Muti in 1977 (the director was Luca Ronconi, scenes by Pier Luigi Pizzi), and old Teatro Comunale opens 2014 with one of the most popular Verdi’s operas. Its popularity comes surely from the blazing writing of early Verdi style, and from its characters that are very hardly depicted (at least the three leading, Nabucco, then Abigaille and Zaccaria), but above all from the extraordinary chorus Va pensiero, real soundtrack of the Italian Ottocento and Risorgimento.
Review by Fabio Bardelli, photos: Marco Borrelli, Florence
Unfortunately the scenic side of this performance (I’m reviewing the performance of last January 24th) was more interesting than the musical one.
The staging by Leo Muscato (with essential and evocative scenes by Tiziano Santi, warm coloured costumes by Silvia Aymonino, and wonderful lights by Alessandro Verazzi) creates a refined and elegant setting to the plot, staged near to the period required by libretto. There’s no rubbish according to the worst tradition, but essential and elegant scenes illuminated by careful lights (we praise over all Alessandro Piazzi, author of the light design). Set designer Tiziano Santi removes very intelligently glitters and junks typical of bad historical movies, keeping only few symbols: throne, broken walls, a grating, some cases, braziers with lighting fire.
Everything is contained in raw, hard and breached walls evocatvely illuminated by wonderful lights, as told.
The stage director has worked specially well on ensembles scenes and on the acting of the singers, with visually beautiful evocative tableaux, recalling famous picture, and for what concernes the lights also to Caravaggio‘s paintings. There are some moments less interesting, but globally the only reproach is the excessive use of scenic smokes, expecially in ensemble scenes, always invading the stage and the theatre itself, becoming in the long ran excessive, even if striking.
Conductor Renato Palumbo works in a very good and personal way, following a refined and symphonic vision of the score. His pace is very personal, now fast now restrained but never fragmentary; at the contrary, he shows a general large symphonic view of the score. His looking for instrumental refined colours is very interesting, making the usual Verdian accompanyment based on beating time becomes subtle art. The orchestra was very good, following the conductor with just a few imprecisions.
The Chorus of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino conducted by Lorenzo Fratini deserves a particular praise. It is a wonderful ensemble, able to sing in a very sharp and moving way not only the famous Va pensiero (it’s the lament of exiled Jews, thinking with deep feeling and homesickness of their Land) but also in other great choral pages written by Verdi for this opera, just from the starting of first act, Gli arredi festivi.
Unfortunately the singers were probably the less intersting side of this performance. The protagonist Dalibor Jenis shows not enough personality for such a great role. His voice is rather clear for being a baritone, with a colour too youthful for the character, that is paternal, complex and experienced. Besides when he tries to lower his voice for piano and pianissimo, it sounds guttural and unpleasant.. So his voice sounded in the whole opera with a very questionable affected drawl.
Anna Markarova was an Abigaille on the whole inadequate, with her incomprehensible italian pronunciation. Her voice is too weak in the low register as well as precarious in the upper one, and the singer shows a rather generic phrasing.
Raymond Aceto as Zaccaria lacks completely his austere and autoritative character. His voice sounds light and youthful and for him it’s a hard test, to go up and down the score, as Verdi asks. Luciano Ganci is Ismaele, and vocally is generous and sings in a sure way.
Rossana Rinaldi (Fenena) and the other singers were on an average level.
The succes was very warm by the audience that filled out Teatro Comunale.
Review by Fabio Bardelli
translation from italian Bruno Tredicine
Direttore, Renato Palumbo
Regia, Leo Muscato
Scene, Tiziano Santi
Costumi, Silvia Aymonino
Luci, Alessandro Verazzi
Nabucco, Dalibor Jenis
Ismaele, Luciano Ganci
Zaccaria, Raymond Aceto
Abigaille, Anna Markarova
Fenena, Rossana Rinaldi
Gran Sacerdote, Dario Russo
Abdallo Enrico Cossutta
Anna, Valeria Sepe
Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Maestro del Coro Lorenzo Fratini