Sun. Oct 13th, 2019

Sondra Radvanovsky, after the steps of Montserrat Caballé in the Liceu


The Liceu arrives at the end of season betting loudly on the voices, with a first cast for this 'Luisa Miller' from Verdi that will make forget any nonsense of the past as far as choice of deals is concerned. Christina Scheppelmann she could not have foreseen a better farewell as artistic director of the theater before leaving for Seattle, her new place. Sondra Radvanovsky, soprano adored by the Liceísta public, will be Luisa Miller accompanied by nothing less than Polish tenor Piotr Beczala, of the most outstanding in the international operatic firmament.

The difficulty of this tragic melodrama in three acts, which is based on the theatrical work 'Intrigue and love' of Friedrich von Schiller, lies in the way in which Verdi plays with the vocal qualities, moving from a bel canto record to a more dramatic one as the opera progresses. A role that Montserrat Caballé he performed with honors in the theater of the Rambla, as Radvanokvsky well remembers.





"I like challenges," says the American soprano, "how to interpret Donizetti's three queens, which I just did. But Luisa Miller is something tough and magnificent. It combines features of mature Verdi with other pre-Verdianas and it forces you to travel from a flexible voice to a more lyrical song. And it is doubly an honor to sing it in this theater because Montserrat Caballé sang it right here and as you know it is an idol for me ".





I like challenges, how to interpret Donizetti's three queens, which I just did. But Luisa Miller is something tough and magnificent "



Radvanovsky not only closes this season of the Liceu: the Peralada festival has a recital of his in honor of the Catalan diva as the closing of this edition. "Caballé was very special, of those artists who only appear once every two generations or more. Her ability to transmit emotions with her voice, the flexibility she had ... she was my mirror to make me work more, looking to make pianissimi like her. But nobody can sing them like her. It is a great source of inspiration and my tribute in Peralada wants to be a way of thanking you. "

And he adds: "I have to say that Caballé considered that Beczala was the great tenor of the moment!", Adds the soprano looking at her colleague. "Thank you very much", says the Polish singer with a surprised expression. "And he is also a great colleague, which is rare to find among the tenors," says the protagonist of Luisa Miller. "This is because I get up being a baritone," jokes Beczala. His role as Rodolfo, Luisa's beloved, from whom the distance between his social classes separates him, is just as complex in terms of that journey to a more emotional song as the opera progresses.





The American soprano and mezzo-soprano, Sondra Radvanovsky (d) and J'Nai Bridges (i), in the general rehearsal of Luisa Miller's opera by Giuseppe Verdi,

The American soprano and mezzo-soprano, Sondra Radvanovsky (d) and J'Nai Bridges (i), in the general rehearsal of Luisa Miller's opera by Giuseppe Verdi,
(Quique García / EFE)




"This role is great because it forces you to work on your vocal skills and also to verify that you are on the right track. It's like a medicine Beczala says. It helps you develop your voice. Now. I come from singing Tosca, but this is not like Puccini, which is more horizontal. No, here there are ups and downs. And you have to be very precise, because some of the ensembles that Verdi composed are as precise as those of Mozart. "

The argument center of Luisa Miller, that develops in the Tyrol of the early eighteenth century, is again the recurrent issue in Verdi of the relationship between father and children. Love, jealousy, power, deceit, betrayal ... Here are also Rodolfo's father, Count Walter, who refuses to let his son marry a woman of the vulgar, as the father of Luisa, the old soldier Miller. Verdi again addresses the family and intergenerational issue, a conflict that, as well warns Ulrich Senn, the repositor of this production conceived by Damiano Micheletto, it took him a lifetime to pacify. "It is not until Falstaff that the will of the children is imposed on the parents," he warns.









Caballé was very special, of those artists who only appear once every two generations or more "



In this montage from the Zurich Opera, where it premiered in 2010 and has been restored in 2014 and 2018, Micheletto draws a mirror game between parents and children, since the former seek that the latter be a copy of themselves. And the scenography delves into this game of mirrors, separating the bourgeoisie in the upper floor of the lower class, which occupies the lower floor.

The Venezuelan baton Domingo Hindoyan he debuted at the Liceu with this production of an opera that he himself describes as genuine and "of great personality". "It is a mistake to consider it a transition opera, between the young Verdi and the one who composed the trilogy of Otello, Trovatore and Traviata. Because it contains the characteristics of the great Verdi, of the great theater man who controls the tempos, the connections between arias, ensembles and recitatives. And that tension. It is true that with the librettist, Salvadore Camarano, he did not get to agree, and Verdi was dissatisfied. But with his big pen he manages to create an absolute tension from beginning to end. "

Sondra Radvanovsky and the Polish tenor Piotr Beczala (2d) during the rehearsal of Verdi's opera

Sondra Radvanovsky and the Polish tenor Piotr Beczala (2d) during the rehearsal of Verdi's opera
(Quique García / EFE)









Hindoyan warns that in this case the public has to go to both distributions, because the role of Luisa can not do many sopranos, "for that journey of flexibility to a more lyrical song and then return to lightness". The Italian Eleonora Buratto, which was Mìmí in La Bohème three seasons ago, debuts the role before flying to New York to sing Liù in Turandot. And next to her, the Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz, which the public lyceistus discovered in 2017, when it came to the rescue, by taxi from Valencia, to save some functions of Werther.


The central plot of Luisa Miller, that develops in the Tyrol of the early eighteenth century, is again the recurrent question in Verdi of the relationship between father and children








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