Premiere of Georg Friedrich Handel’s “Alcina” premiered on the New stage of the Bolshoi theatre. A joint project of the Bolshoi theatre and International Opera festival in AIX-EN-Provence was first implemented in 2015 in France, and has now reached Moscow. The experience of staging a Baroque Opera by British Director Katie Mitchell and the Italian conductor, renowned specialist in the field of ancient music, Andrea Marcon, has been very successful: the audience received the performance enthusiastically.
Photo: press service of the theater
This is the second experience of Handel Opera at the Bolshoi theatre with the assistance of the European masters: the first was the magnificent “Rodelinda” with conductor Christopher Moulds and directed by Richard Jones. Wise decision: to learn the complicated Russian genre of Baroque Opera with the help of those who can. And Andrea Marcon can be no doubt: organist, harpsichordist, musicologist, conductor and Maestro Marcon 20 years ago created the Venice Baroque orchestra, which performs all over the world, opening for fans of early music unknown masterpieces of the past. Russian musicians playing under his baton, shown in “Alcina” mastery of the techniques and style of Baroque music. Perfect sound, perfect intonation, refinement of dynamic contrasts, wonderful solos and ensembles — particularly the incredibly beautiful duet recorders — all this became the reason for the present feast of the hearing.
Singers also fully given the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful music of Handel, sometimes seeming incredibly modern, sometimes giving little opportunity to reconcentrate, but during key moments of striking power of the images and the originality of the musical language. Of course, Handel, especially in their outstanding writings, which include “Alcina”, is so great that it is difficult to overestimate the fact of the appearance in the poster of the Bolshoi theatre of this name. Vocal technique David Hansen (Ruggiero), Fabio Trumpy (Orontes), Catherine of Bradic (Bradamante) in conjunction with their appearance — all beautiful, graceful, plastic and artistic — does not encourage criticism. Anna Aglatova in the party, the Morgans want to say: Russian singer was the first among equals in this harmonious ensemble. And young Alex Kornevskiy in difficult, it is not a children’s party boy, Oberto was also very accurate, the intonation is precise and technical. Perhaps, an ambiguous impression of Heather Engebretson, the singer of the title role. Of course, no vocal technique, no quality issues have arisen. However, there was a feeling that the singer almost every reference begins with instant sound dysphonia cords, then some barely audible delay her tall, beautiful, filled with overtones voice sounds pure and full. From this perception of her numerous arias began to cause a feeling of fatigue and tension.
However, the story with which the Directors have set out the content of an Opera by Handel, composed to a libretto by an unknown author, did not let bored. The Alcina and Morgana — two not very good sorceress, luring in their networks of men and brutally cracking down on them by making accidents in the plants, rocks and animals, represented by two pairs of artists: young, beautiful, singing Engebretson and Agalatovo and old, silent Tatyana Vladimirova and Taisija miholap. A simple technique brilliantly solves the problem of turning: center stage beautifully decorated room-Wraith, room Mirage, the sides — the real room scary castle with dilapidated walls and dark lighting. The side rooms are separated from the centre by a wall and doors. Old actress enters the doorway on the left and on the right it goes from young beauty. On the opposite side is symmetric scheme. It works absolutely magical, Reaffirming the axiom: there is no augmented reality does not replace the theatre “live” production techniques.
And yet the play contains a lot of erotica. At first it’s almost embarrassing to watch how diverse Ruggiero meets a host of various poses Alcina how sexy the Orontes lashes a stack enclosed in handcuffs Morgan and how intricate Handel’s cadences coincide with the openly exhibited by the artists of the orgasm. But the awkwardness pretty quickly gives way to acceptance: in the XVIII century in any court, not even allowed herself. And the music perfectly matches the magical-erotic interpretation of the story. And when the singers are so gracefully executed the most difficult of singing sounds in Baroque music called obelezeni, a true music lover it’s not forbidden to feel pleasure, it is correlated with sex.