A special masked ball
A masked ball
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Rarely is a title so accurate to describe a situation. And is that the Teatro Real opens this strange and uncertain season 20/21 with 'A masked ball', in Verdi.
To enter the Theater you have to dedicate a little more time now. You cannot skip any of the steps in the new security liturgy against covid-19, which in this Theater is especially thorough. Everything perfectly organized to avoid any type of agglomeration and a caring room staff who gives all kinds of information and indications.
This season the Teatro Real is launching an initiative that has already been carried out in other European theaters with great success. It is a preview dedicated exclusively to young people. He 16 of September, two days before the official premiere, this stimulating premiere has taken place that has had an extraordinary response. A magnificent initiative highly celebrated by a young hobby who normally, either for reasons of capacity or because of the high price of the seats, he does not attend these shows as often as he would like.
We have spoken with some of these young people who have come to this first gala and have shared with us their points of view. Today they are the protagonists.
It is not the first time that Cristina has attended an opera. In fact, has worked as a makeup artist at the Theater. ”I think the initiative is very good, I like it a lot and if today, that I come alone, I like it, I'm going to bring all my friends. For € 35 I think it's amazing to be able to come and enjoy all this ".
Manuel and José Ignacio, are musicians who come for the first time to the Royal Theater from Seville and Aracena, Huelva. "Our expectations are very high. We have always liked Verdi's music and we come here with enthusiasm. The proposal of the Theater seems very interesting to us, especially for the approach of opera to young people. We generally cannot afford it and these are very reasonable prices.. We always had to settle for watching it online and now we are here. "
Gonzalo and Eduardo is the first time they come to the opera and they are a bit lost. "We come with desire, It is a new experience and I think we will like it. From the outside it looks very good. The first time, Let's see how!”.
Unlike the Traviata of July, this Ballo in Maschera is staged. Given the impossibility of moving David Alden's initially scheduled production to Madrid, the scenography by Gianmaria Aliverta has been chosen. The effort made to adapt this production, released in 2017 at the La Fenice Theater in Venice, to strict health protocols has been important. The staging is almost complete. Avoiding contact or closeness between the performers and in which only the dancers wear a mask, by the way, so discreet that it is barely visible.
The scenery is outdated and bland. All elements are very static, except for a big rock in the second act that spins (to Amelia's torment, who has to sing while climbing it). Nothing on stage provides the dynamism that singers fail to achieve., due to the necessary lack of movements. Nor do long changes of scenery during the performance help..
The dance corps choreography isn't very stimulating either, does not seem very elaborate. The fact of locating the work in the America of slavery is also puzzling., with an American flag with excessive presence, so gigantic.
But the absence of proximity between the singers, especially in the love duo, is offset by music. Master Luisotti describes it very well: "The experience of the opera is a personal experience. The possibility of closing our eyes and imagining what is happening is provided by music. In the love duo, even if i wasn't seeing it, I can imagine the embrace of the two lovers. " Verdi manages to transmit, through his music, the exact words to describe an action.
Un Ballo in maschera is undoubtedly the most Italian of Verdi's operas, and the baton of Nicola Luisotti, great connoisseur of this repertoire, makes it manifest throughout the entire representation. If one abandons oneself to music and the color and detail that Luisotti extracts from the orchestra, nothing that happens on stage alters the essence of the play.
We must recognize the great work developed by the set designer Massimo Checchetto and by the singers. It is not easy to function on a stage keeping your distance from everyone. What also affects, not only to interpretation, but to the projection without close references.
This Ballo in maschera has two casts and four Amelias. The representation of the young gala was in charge of a second cast headed by veteran Ramón Vargas, as Count Ricardo, that preserves the class and phrasing that made him one of the greatest tenors. The Madrilenian Saioa Hernández, as Amelia, who showed great sensitivity with the expressiveness of his voice. Geroge Petean, with a deep baritone voice that gave life to Ricardo's friend and later rival. Silvia Beltrami, who built a dark character of the sorceress Ulrica. Elena Sánchez Pereg, who played young Oscar, Take Babylon, as Silvano, Daniel Giulianini, as Samuel, Goderdzi Janelidze, as Tom and Jorge Rodríguez Norton.
The choir was assisted at all times by the technique to be able to keep the distances on mobile platforms.
A hopeful start to the season in the midst of this dystopian situation and full of uncertainty but, as Vargas Llosa recalled on opening night "Culture is made to face difficult times". That's why we are here, surrounded by young people ...
Text: Paloma Sanaz
pictures: Javier del Real
Videos: Teatro Real