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Geoff

ROH Forza del destino

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Posted (edited)

Rehearsal today so no comments on the show as such yet. Just to say: Netrebko turned up, Jonas Kaufmann did not (“indisposed”). Wishing him schnelle Besserung. 

 

Edited by Geoff
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Had I picked up from the broadcast Insight that Jonas Kaufmann was imminently to become a father - I might have got this completely wrong?  So hopefully it may be ‘Glückwünsche’.

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Someone I know said he was sounding fantastic at the weekend. No word on the baby as yet. 

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I believe the baby was born a couple of weeks ago (which would explain why nobody saw him in London during that part of the rehearsal period, spawning rumours that he wasn't coming...)

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I have tickets for Thursday so let's see.  I actually swapped them when better seats came up from a Netrebko/ Kaufmann night later in the run but returned the ones I didn't want immediately - I'm now wishing I'd kept them!

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3 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

The reviews are fabulous.  Anyone there last night?

 

They are, and a number of them mention Friends being deprived of their membership as their tickets are going for upwards of £4,000 on third party websites. Goodness me, does this mean that the ROH is actually doing something about the unholy ticket shambles?

I will be there tomorrow so am hoping for the best.

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I’m there on the last night so won’t see Netrebko but Kaufmann does it for me.  Hope you will report back tomorrow.

 

As for the tickets, don’t know which was the bigger shambles - the fact that notickets other than Ampitheatre were held back for General Booking or that Friends we’re allowed to hoover up unlimited quantities.  Still no answer from ROH.

 

Took a look at Viagogo and actually the prices aren’t that high. Certainly nothing.ime £4000.

 

Have a great night tomorrow.

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Thank you, Penelope, today's Forza more than lived up to the hype. It was one of those performances that you remember for years with the satisfaction that comes with 'I was there'. There was a real buzz and everyone seemed to leave on a high, which is something that it hasn't always been possible to say over the last few years.

 

I think that Kaufmann does it for most of us and I'm not necessarily talking about the voice. You'll be pleased to hear that he was in great form. His voice, for the record, was good and - a note for the more superficial amongst us - he really does seem to look better with every passing year. Are you sure, by the way, that he is slated for the last night? The ROH website has him down for the last of the sold-out performances with Eyvazov listed for the remaining two.

 

Monastyrska always delivers so I am sure that you won't be short-changed but I have to say that Netrebko, who has often underwhelmed me in the past, gave a performance that was nothing short of a triumph. In a catalogue of great performances - Kaufmann, Tezier, Furlanetto, Corbelli to name just four - it really was her afternoon so I'm sorry that you won't be able to hear her for yourself.

 

I didn't hate the production or sets, some of which had the whiff of Italian Cinema Verite. For the most part, they made sense of the narrative and had far more aesthetic appeal than many of the turkeys served up by the ROH of late, although some of the choreography left me cold. I did, perversely, enjoy the Stavros Flatley-style dancing dished up in act 3 before the arrival of Fra Melitone at the soldiers' camp. I wish that I could remember more from the Calixto Bieito production from a few years back at the ENO so that I could make a direct overall comparison.

 

Finally, and importantly, Pappano and the orchestra pulled out all the stops and combined with the cast to hit all the right emotional buttons. Hoping that you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Oh, I nearly had heart failure there - when I said last night I meant last night of his run which is April 9.  Yes, I'm sorry that I won't see Netrebko but .... as you may know (!) slight problem with tickets.  I was blown away by her Lady Macbeth ; she made the whole audience sit up startled as soon as she started singing, but I am a Kaufmann groupie.  Yes, he is the full package and he always seems so nice.  Was re-watching the BBC programme about his Othello at the weekend and I loved the bit where he forgot his sword on opening night!  

 

Your review is mouth watering and I am waiting in anticipation.  I don't know Monastyrska.  

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1 minute ago, penelopesimpson said:

Oh, I nearly had heart failure there - when I said last night I meant last night of his run which is April 9. 

 

I think those who are booked for 12 April might be a bit shocked to see that!  I'm glad you have tickets to hear Kaufmann in this, as he was really very special yesterday (as was Tézier).

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

Netrebko, who has often underwhelmed me in the past, gave a performance that was nothing short of a triumph. In a catalogue of great performances - Kaufmann, Tezier, Furlanetto, Corbelli to name just four - it really was her afternoon

 

Indeed. Netrebko has come in for criticism on occasion but generally from those who are relying on recordings/cinema transmissions. I have been following her since her first Violetta in Salzburg (2005? I was sadly away for her earlier Donna Anna at ROH) and have never once been less than overwhelmed by her live performances. At the rehearsal for Forza I overheard someone ask their friend, how does she make the sound go all around you? That is indeed one of several special qualities which have rightly placed Netrebko into the very top of the international league. Only a few singers in any generation achieve that position and at the moment she just seems to be getting better and better.

 

Kaufmann is in a similar position in terms of fame but for me, if one is being really honest, he didn’t appear entirely comfortable in the part and generally didn’t quite make the sound one hopes for in a Verdi tenor. But then the opera was commissioned by a tenor best known for singing Arnold (William Tell) and Manrico (Trovatore), which suggests a rather different quality to Kaufmann’s Germanic sound. But the crowd cheered him so perhaps I am being too picky. He wasn't anything less than really good. 

 

There was some great singing from Tezier - also cheered - and Furlanetto, whose scene with Netrebko was a dramatic high point, in part as the director left it alone. The production is unnecessarily distracting in several places (I am going back a couple of times and now know to keep my eyes shut during, for example, the overture). And I wonder if the original staging by Loy had quite so many black stage curtains delaying the action and clumsily slowing down the performance. 

 

Edited by Geoff
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21 minutes ago, Geoff said:

 And I wonder if the original staging by Loy had quite so many black stage curtains delaying the action and clumsily slowing down the performance. 

 

I heard that at the dress rehearsal there was an "open" scene change sometime in Act 2 but it didn't go smoothly...

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Geoff said:

Kaufmann is in a similar position in terms of fame but for me, if one is being really honest, he didn’t appear entirely comfortable in the part and generally didn’t quite make the sound one hopes for in a Verdi tenor. But then the opera was commissioned by a tenor best known for singing Arnold (William Tell) and Manrico (Trovatore), which suggests a rather different quality to Kaufmann’s Germanic sound.

 

I haven’t seen this yet (going on 2nd April) but based on previous sightings I don’t think he’s entirely comfortable in the Italian rep in general. I saw him in Fidelio in January in Munich and it was a revelation: much freer, more comfortable and as a consequence bigger.

 

However he’s been clear that he comes to London chiefly to learn or polish Italian rep with Pappano, so if you want to hear the real Kaufmann (IMO) you’ll have to travel.

Edited by Lizbie1
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I totally agree, Lizbie1; people seem surprised that I'm often a bit underwhelmed by Kaufmann.  It's not that I think he's a poor singer, but his tone colour generally isn't actually what I'm looking for in Italian repertoire.

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Thanks for all these reports! I cannot wait to see the cinema relay on April 2. 

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I noticed on the credits that Johannes Stepanek was credited with some of the choreography.  New role for him?

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Anybody else there tonight?

 

 It was wonderful, with a few caveats.  Stick my neck out and say Monastyrska didn’t quite do it for me.  Her voice is magnificent and bwautifully pure, but she is just so loud. IMHO she overwhelmed everyone else and at times she was all I could hear.  Netrebko is similarly powerful but she modulates and adjusts so that the harmony is right.

 

Kaufmann did not disappoint and he and Tezier together were sublime, the highlight for me, along with Pappano’s conducting.

 

I am new to Forza and I found it a puzzling piece.  A lush score and an intoxicating central melody, supporting a plot that is both dark and comic. I was left undecided as to whether it is a masterpiece, combining themes of religion, prejudice, revenge and honour OR is it a hotch-potch that only really works with a headline cast.  Were Verdi writing today,  he would certainly need an  inclusivity and diversity handbook!   Thank god nobody has yet suggested making it more PC.

 

An amusing incident infirst interval.  Standing in front of the doors onto the Floral Hall Terrace having a drink when they flew open, knocking a German student over.  Despite the face it was a calm night, strong gusts of wind blew in, sending things flying.  Front of House person appeared but doors would not shut so they radioed for help, saying, ‘It’s those same doors again.’ Doors were thenlocked.  Roll on summer!

 

 

 

 

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It is a slightly weird beast, isn't it?  Some of it struck me as a bit out of place (and also oddly familiar somehow) - and then I finally managed to print myself off a copy of the cast sheet today and found it said "with a scene from" Wallensteins Lager, which would explain a lot!  Just stick a bit of Schiller in the middle, why don't you?  I hadn't read the play since I was in my early 20s, so I guess that would explain the slight bell-ringing :)  Is this what the "Milan version" is?  Is there another, de-Schiller-ised, version?

 

Regardless, I was pretty much caught up in it - and thought Netrebko in particular was excellent (not that I know an awful lot about opera).

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There’s a large chunk of Act 3 which I’d happily do without - it adds nothing to the narrative and I don’t find it musically worth it either. In fact I’d jettison the character of Preziosilla altogether, though that would leave us very light on women.

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Posted (edited)

Oh, Lizbie, I so agree.  That scene you mention is neither relevant nor, if we must have it, in the wrong place.  The audience is just climbing up the emotional crescendo and suddenly we get some silly dancing.  What for?  Personally, I too would get rid of Preziosilla and just accept that the piece is v.dark and be damned!

 

Can't believe that bit about Wallenstein's, Alison, but just had a look at my brochure and you're right.  Weird.  I cannot decide if I want to see it again next time it comes round or it could only really work with the sort of A-List class we've just enjoyed.

Edited by penelopesimpson

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6 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:

There’s a large chunk of Act 3 which I’d happily do without - it adds nothing to the narrative and I don’t find it musically worth it either. In fact I’d jettison the character of Preziosilla altogether, though that would leave us very light on women.

 

Totally agree - although I don't think it helped at all that Preziosilla on opening night was by far the weakest link in an otherwise phenomenal cast. 

 

I loved the evening, thought it was Netrebko's night (and have since become mildly obsessed by her instagram feed - she is delightfully bonkers imo) and that Kaufmann took a while to get into it but was wonderful with Tezier, who was also stunning.  I'm pretty annoyed with myself for returning my ticket for a later night as I'd have happily gone and seen it again - although whether I would go without the casting I agree I'm not sure.  I didn't know the opera at all beforehand, but at least I can place the familiar bits now.

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