April 14, 2021

Heroic voices for the troubadour


The cast gathers several debutant names in the square and others in the respective roles. This expectation of novelty, added to the very generous acoustics of the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium on nights as auspicious as those of today due to the pressure and temperature of the environment, gives a special intensity to Verdi’s “melos”, inexhaustible genius in the invention of plot melody . The pandemic regulations, strictly adhered to by the Auditorium, do not hinder the level of execution at all. On the contrary, the double artistic and social facet of opera is unified in a single pleasure, which is the artistic one.

It is not even worth dedicating resources to a summary staging of four solid elements, lights and videos with conventional images, which poorly replicates the splendor of the voices. Those who think this would prefer the concert or semi-staged form without decorations. Fortunately, the singers make the audience very happy, who pay them homage with long and loud ovations.

Those voices have sounded heroic in scope and character. From the dramatic soprano Saioa Hernández, a Spaniard who makes her debut in Las Palmas in the midst of a brilliant career through the world’s first coliseums, the color is the most noble, the range of register -from the high to the chest- the virtuosity in fermatas and filados and, above all, a majestic spirit that singles her out with the slowing down effect of the sustained notes in her phrasing. Regia in all its arias and ensembles.

The Mexican spinto tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz, who everyone talks about lyrically, makes his debut here with another great personal success. In his first trova dall’interno he is a bit disconcerting due to the opacity of the center. It needs to warm up, but as soon as the timbre has been set and the color refined, it sounds resplendent, as admirable for its vocality as for its drama. Divo conditions in full youth. As expected, a high-pitched “do” of “the pyre” admirably placed, bright, long, sure.

Together with them, at a very high level, the international Gran Canaria Nancy Fabiola Herrera offers, in our opinion, the best operatic version of her rich career. The opulence of a full and full volume, the clarity of all the vocalization, the extension and agility, the courage of the high-pitched mezzo-sopranil and the gifts of dramatic expression are admirable for all the public, used to applauding her in less tragic but suitable roles in his voice. Curiously, this Azucena also debuted, which seemed written for her.

The Italian baritone Massimo Cavaletto, great timbred and full voice, great temperament; and the excellent Spanish bass Manuel Fuentes, with a musicality and power worthy of the greatest roles, completed an epic-vocal poem, great and difficult at the historical moment when Verdi revolutionized the theaters without leaving aside the “recitative- arioso-aria y cavaletta ”of classicism, which demands almost supernatural conditions from the singers. Good choral interventions and the orchestra quite bad, without respecting the stage tempo or the setting, as well as annoying exaggerations of the bass and the big percussions. They evidenced at all times the lack of rehearsal in the Auditorium itself, and the poor delivery of a director, Jordi Bernácer, quite distracted.

But let’s end with a meaning hallelujah! The Las Palmas Opera and its audience do not surrender to adversity, the Auditorium facilitates even the smallest legal condition and, despite the limitations, we can enjoy memorable productions.

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