The teacher Juan Udaeta and the SGAE did not have an easy task when they were commissioned to carry out this work on the score of Circe, one of the lesser known works of Ruperto Chapí, which was written for the inauguration of the Teatro Lírico in Madrid on 7 May 1902. Nothing to see this work of Chapí, that is used for the new season, with the King who raged, with which last season was concluded, Also in the Teatro de la Zarzuela.
Circe is a very peculiar work. As the maestro Casares defines it very well, "It is the most disturbing opera in all of our history". And to listen to it you have to prepare as if it were a Wagner work. If you abandon yourself to his music, There are times when it certainly seems Wagner, Of course, saving distances. Circe is a compendium of complex-inspired sounds that are familiar, not only because of Wagnerian inspiration, evoca también from Camille Saint-Saëns.
It is a score technically far above vocal writing, which is very flat and monotonous. Only in the second act, where the melody makes an appearance, and in the dramatic ending, the interpreters have a moment of greater brilliance.
For this performance in concert version, the Teatro de la Zarzuela has used safe values in the vocal aspect. Session Hernández, as Circe, faced this score, more declaimed than sung, with that wide and mighty voice that treasures. Despite not stopping singing in the almost two hours that the work lasts, saved the best for last, Circe's death, which was a display of drama and intensity.
The Ulysses of Alejandro Roy did not detract in intensity to Circe. The Asturian tenor, with a more than remarkable volume of voice, He faced the fiendish highs of his score with great solvency. Very good intervention of the always safe value Rubén Amoretti, in the role of Arsidas.
García Calvo extracts from the Orchestra a sound of extraordinary quality and cleanliness. The Theater's titular Orchestra looks like another in the hands of the Madrid maestro. It allowed the singers to show off without interfering at any time with the orchestral sound. Perfectly accompanied the voices without rivaling them. Always precise in the direction, despite communication difficulties due to the use of the mask.
This is not the most outstanding work of Chapí, although the goal of its composition was very ambitious. Al escucharla puede entenderse que estuviera tanto tiempo sin programarse, but it is fortunate to have had the opportunity to listen to it. Thank you, among others, to the work of the Teatro de la Zarzuela and its efforts to recover works of Spanish lyric.
Photograph: Elena del Real