Friday, November 26, 2010

And the winner is...

I already blogged about the Arte-Live-Web coverage of the final weeks of the ARMEL Intl Opera Competition in Szeged (Hungary). Results?

Cristina Baggio won for the role of Renata in what the jury decided was the best production - The Fiery Angel. Congrats to all the winners!  [full list with other distinctions is available on this link]

A scene from The Fiery Angel in Szeged
I saw the winning show [The Fiery Angel] --one of my 20 favorite operas-- and was impressed.
  • It is extremely difficult to sing this opera and to see young performers putting their guts and hearts was touchy and thrilling at the same time. A bunch of compliments go to Renata and Ruprecht sung by Cristina Baggio and Zsolt Haja. Cristina should be extra-praised for her courage to attack this ultra-heavy role, in addition to her outstanding scenic performance.
  • I was very surprised to see this opera listed for competition because it is so difficult to stage,  rehearse and play -- it would have been much easier to opt for L'Elisir d'Amore or Don Pasquale, and let a soprano simper around the stage to win the crowd over.  Direction and staging look similar to recent Lulu by Stefan Herheim and Heike Scheele in Copenhagen, although the lack of money and the overall level of execution remain well bellow the Copenhagen show. With that being said, a big bravo to Silviu Purcarete (director).
My only objection is that it is performed in French. With no French singers in the cast what's the point in not doing it in Russian?
For more production photos please see here.
Below is embedded the full video of the winning show (available for free viewing until February 2011.)

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