Sunday, December 05, 2010
Opera: Adriana Lecouvreur
I finally managed to see la Gheorghiu perform in an opera. It was at Saturday's Adriana Lecouvreur at the Royal Opera. David McVicar's new production has received rave reviews, but seeing it for yourself is another matter. There was such anticipation ahead of Gheorghiu's first appearance, and she did not disappoint. And neither did anyone else in this production. In what at first appears to be a convoluted story, it boils down to a simple love triangle. Besides when Jonas Kaufmann and Gheorghiu are singing together, you are less concerned about the plot anyway. Filling out the triangle was Russian mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina who added to the fireworks.
Star power aside, this opera manages has a series of substantial supporting roles that draws out some excellent performances. It was hard to believe such a good cast and an elegant production could make such high melodrama feel so glamourous. The show has sold out this run (including with the alternate cast), however as it is a co-production with four other houses (the Vienna State Opera, San Francisco Opera, the Liceu, Barcelona, and Opéra Bastille) it is bound to be seen elsewhere soon.
At the curtain calls the audience leapt to their feet, and from somewhere in the circle two teddy bears found their way onto the stage. A brown one for Kaufmann, and a white one for Gheorghiu. While I wondered what was the thinking behind the differently coloured bears for the two performers, it was probably a sensible choice since throwing violets might have raised a few eyebrows. I was not close enough to the stage to determine if they are singing opera bears, but this could be a new trend for audiences to follow at the Royal Opera. Say it with bears... Grr...