The Neapolitan Anna Pirozzi left on Monday to the stage of the Liceu ready to defend the premiere of
The Mona Lisa, of Amilcare Ponchielli, instead of the second allocation that had been assigned. The Italian soprano replaced in extremis
Iréne Theorin, the diva of this production. But it took the biggest bravos and the longest applause (ten minutes in total) that have been dedicated to a soprano in a long time in this lyrical coliseum.
Iréne Theorin, highly esteemed by the public of the theater of La Rambla, is recovering from pneumonia, as indicated Christina Scheppelmann, artistic director of the Gran Teatre, before the opera began. Some attendees responded with whistles, and the director snapped: "Before whistling wait to see the function because Mrs. Pirozzi has agreed to advance her intervention one day and we are very grateful ". And the theater applauded.
It is bad that the Liceu replaces this production of The Gioconda so that the Swedish soprano fulfills its desire to debut this leading role, and it suffers an indisposition that prevents it from acting on the day of the premiere. However, Theorin is expected to reappear from the function of day 4.
This production is a replacement of the assembly signed by the renowned Italian director and scenographer Pier Luigi Pizzi, which was already seen in 2005 at the Liceu. The audience of the premiere was left with the desire to attend the vocal pirouette of a Wagnerian voice like Theorin's playing a role of such italianità. But on the contrary, he enjoyed a Pirozzi that is perhaps the Italian soprano of the most suitable moment for this dramatic lyric role.
The Gioconda, premiered at La Scala in 1876, is an emblematic work of the period that goes from the verdian maturity to the incipient verismo. And the libretto by Arrigo Boito is a free adaptation of Victor Hugo's drama Angelo, tyran of Padoue. Boito, like Ponchielli, was part of the scapigliatura, a progressive and iconoclastic movement that rebelled against the prevailing style. He moved the action of the Padua of the sixteenth century to the Venice of the seventeenth century, and accentuated the romanticism to finish writing a macabre drama in which death lurks, love and heartbreak.
Nobody like the reggista Pier Luigi Pizzi, of 88 years, to recreate a carnival in the Venice of the canals -the ones that he himself sees from his palatial Venetian abode-. That's where this sad story of a traveling singer, the Gioconda (Pirozzi), who falls in love with a nobleman, Enzo (fabulous American tenor Brian Jagde) that does not correspond.
On the other hand, La Gioconda is the victim of the lustful siege of Barnaba, a spy of the Inquisition, which the baritone gives life to here. Gabriele Viviani that in his very fearsome role It honors what is said of this character, which is a precedent of the Otello that Verdi would write later.
This is one of the few operatic titles that has six characters of different vocal range and each with its corresponding aria. The first to wear his was the contralto María José Montiel, in the role of the blind mother of The Gioconda. She started the first "brave!" Of the public of the Liceu.
From here everything would go musically on the rise. Pirozzi debuted the role with naturalness, showing a commendable resistance and bravery - the serious part of "Suicide!" Is exhausting - and also of the lightness of his last intervention.
At his side, the mezzo Dolora Zajick, of 67 years, made a remarkable Laura in the vocal thing, although hardly credible in the paper of young enamored with the tenor to which Gioconda loves. And you can not ignore the work of the great bass-baritone Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, here in the role of Duke, spiteful by his wife Laura. That is, the icing on the cake of a dramatic and passionate grand-opéra.
The ballet of the third act, with choreography by Gheorghe Lancu, the same one who starred Ángel Corella at the Liceu 14 years ago, they dance him this time Alessandro Riga (an overly muscular member of the National Dance Company) and Letizia Giuliani, plus a body of dance chosen for the occasion, half Italian half Catalan.
It is curious to see how the audience of the Liceu especially enjoys the moments of a good ballet. Especially when this fragment of the score is already known archi. The teacher was very fine Guillermo García Calvo, which recently picked up in this same theater one of the prizes awarded by Opera XXI, the association of opera houses and festivals in Spain.
As for the presence of authorities, it is curious to read in the newspaper archive that at the premiere of 2005 attended the then President of the Generalitat Pasqual Maragall, and the mayor Joan Clos. But in this premiere, the mayor Ada Colau fell off the poster at the last minute and the president of the Generalitat sent the general director of Cooperació Cutural as his representative.
Finally, note that the only advantage that Theorin has had to be replaced on the day of the premiere of La Gioconda, is that those who attend on Tuesday, day 2 to the second distribution will find the surrogate substitute: Saioa Hernández!, the Madrid soprano that was acclaimed in the cousin de la Scala last December in Attila.. This will be his debut at the Liceu.