Feb 23, 2007

Juan Diego Flórez is the man

Donizetti's La fille du regiment is currently playing at La Scala, without Natalie Dessay in Marie, but with Juan Diego Flórez as Tonio.

2 nights ago was the opening night.
And the unbelievable happened at La Scala.
Juan Diego Flórez sang an encore of the aria "Ah! mes amis".

You think this is not a big deal?
An encore at La Scala is a revolution.

The first one in... 74 years.
Yes, 74.
A rule set by Arturo Toscanini himself, in order to respect the continuity and integrity of the score, the music and drama.

As mentionned in Playbill Arts, Riccardo Muti did allow the chorus "Va, pensiero" from Nabucco to repeat once in 1986 and once in 1996, and in 1984 the chorus also repeated an aria from I Lombardi alla prima Crociata, but no soloist had sung an encore at La Scala since the legendary bass Fyodor Chaliapin did it once in 1933 in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (while Toscanini was out of town).

The article of Il Corriere della Serra, Scala, il bis di Flórez rompe un tabù; "Alla fine ha vinto lui. Il «bis» di Juan Diego Flórez della celebre cavatina «Ah! mes amis», n. 6 della partitura della Fille du régiment di Donizetti è rimbalzato fragoroso tra le pareti rinfrescate ma pur sempre storiche della Scala. (...) Giusto? Sbagliato? Un sacrosanto diritto del pubblico? Una profanazione? Nulla di più normale nei teatri d' opera che un' aria particolarmente bella e ben cantata venga ripetuta a furor di loggione. Non alla Scala."

So yes, the encore of Juan Diego Flórez is indeed a big deal.
Not everybody gets booed at La Scala...
Some tenors should learn from that...

The mp3 of the aria and its encore can be found here and there. (poor sound)

Worth mentionning;

Sopranos Désirée Rancatore and Nino Machaidze take on the role of Marie deserted by Dessay; in its newsletter, La Scala describes Nino Machaidze as "one of the most beautiful flowers of La Scala Academy of Performing Arts, and [she] displays the marks of Leyla Gencer and Luciana Serra's excellent teaching, completed by Mirella Freni." (good marketing campaign, don't you think?)

The set and designs, originally the same as in London (Laurent Pelly's) were switched to the old Franco Zeffirelli production (the reason why Dessay retracted from the show), which La Scala sells as "In 1959 Franco Zeffirelli designed its sets and costumes for the Teatro Massimo of Palermo, in a figurative key that announced a bit Tullio Pericoli's traits, and still today declares to be proud of it.
Filippo Crivelli, who has worked with passion to keep the production young, took care of the staging at its creation and has always had opportunities to refresh its look in the following productions, the latest being at La Scala in 1996."
(so much for bringing the opera to younger audiences).

Rest of the cast:

La Marquise de Berckenfield, Francesca Franci
La Duchesse de Crakentorp, Anna Proclemer
Tonio, Juan Diego Flórez (Shalva Mukeria)
Sulpice, Alessandro Corbelli (Vincenzo Taormina)
Hortensius, Francis Dudziak
Caporal, Guido Loconsolo
Paysant, Sergio Spina

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