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Scheherezade

Andrea Chenier

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This is something of a retrospective since David McVicar's aesthetically-pleasing Andrea Chenier has now finished its ROH run but, my goodness, I saw yesterday's final performance and despite more than a nod to the park and bark credentials of yesteryear I found it so much more moving than the comparatively subdued Kaufmann vehicle of 2015.

 

All three principals - Radvanovsky, Platanias and, yes, even Alagna as the eponymous hero and poet who provided the hook for that manifestly unfair date with the tumbrel for himself and his great love Maddalena made me and, it seemed, most of the audience want to blub unreservedly as the curtain came down.

 

There was, of course, luxury casting in the supporting roles - Christine Rice and Elena Zilio to name but two - but what really hit the nail on the head, apart from some extraordinary vocal performances, was the emotional heft of the performances, and what a joy to find costumes and sets that made sense of the music and storyline rather than baffling directors' concepts setting out to destroy them.

 

Its a long time, I have to say, since I have experienced such an enthusiastic audience reaction both during and at the close of an opera performance at the ROH. Management take note.

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It was a stunner, wasn't it? I saw the previous performance.  Great old-school exciting singing.

 

I was, however, struck by the anachronism that was the use of pointe shoes in the Act 1 ballet sequence, for a aristocratic party entertainment set in the 1780s!

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I didn’t catch this run, but my assumption when I saw it first time around was that the production deliberately portrays a rather sanitised, late 19th century version of Revolutionary France, in keeping with when the opera was first staged.

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On 10/06/2019 at 17:07, RuthE said:

I was, however, struck by the anachronism that was the use of pointe shoes in the Act 1 ballet sequence, for a aristocratic party entertainment set in the 1780s!

 

I picked up on that too - which I guess shows how much ballet I've seen recently! Also the duel was pathetic in comparison to the R&J ones!

 

I saw it a couple of weeks ago & thought it was an excellent production, very tradiotional which is absolutely my taste, & that all the cast were very good too. The only thing I felt was lacking was Puccini! While Giordano's music was never less that pleasant, and rose to the climaxes, I didn't feel it quite plumbed the emotional depths that it could have done & I couldn't remember a note of it afterwards.

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