The collaboration between the Greek National opera and Covent Garden seems to be a happy one. After a production of “Simone Boccanegra” directed by Elijah Moshinsky, we saw the return of the much discussed “Lucia di Lamermoor” directed by Katie Mitchel which created such an initial furore, being finally highly truncated, blood and all.
Therefore the production arrived to the Greek audience in a mild way, having being rid of the initial violence and gore. All the pity, since it was robbed of its spirit and force.Still, what remained was ever so powerful and impressive. K.Mitchell’s view was that of a society which is heavily male oriented and in which women were manhandled and used for men’s own advantage. Lucia is the victim albeit not an easy one to handle, before she withdraws into madness, she kills both her husband and her unborn baby by her lover. I found the final scene in which she dies into the bathtub extremely forceful and effective.
The demanding role of Lucia was taken by the Greek coloratura soprano Vassiliki Karayanni, who is the leading coloratura in Greece. She handled the role with her usual panache, professionality and absolute dedication to the music. Her Lucia was tormented, angry, forceful and dramatic. Her singing was impeccable with absolute ease to the coloratura demands of the role. Her high notes were clean and strong, her voice has acquired a darker color which was a plus to her performance. The mad scene was one of the best I have heard of this role, the voice was supple yet forceful and dramatic. One of the best Lucias I heard.
Unfortunately Yannis Christopoulos was afflicted with a cold and he did not deliver his usual performance, which as I was told was excellent in the first night. However he managed to get through the performance with flying colours , using the voice in a most effective way though not at its full power.
Tassis Christoyannis delivered one of his best performances, his voice is strong, dramatic, and sung with real feeling of the music. He is a great asset to the Company, with a well deserved international career. A few weeks before he sung at Simone Boccanegra, a real treat.
Tassos Apostolou sung the role of Raimondo with a ringing voice, but in my opinion not in a real belcanto style. Singers must realize that Donizetti, Bellini, Rossini, are not Verdi and Puccini, there is a need for an entirely different attitude to the music.
Yannis Kalyvas who sung Arturo, was quite good, he has a pleasant voice and a good stage presence.
Lydia Vafeiadi was a surprising presence , even in the small role of Alisa. She sung with dedication and a good rounded voiceWhat really put me off was the musical direction of Pierre Demoussaud whose attitude to the music I found insensitive to the more subtle nuances of the score. The sound of the Orchestra was extremely loud, covering in many passages the voices of the singers. I suspect he didn’t have the necessary rehearsals in order to asses the acoustics of the Theatre, so better safe than sorry.
The Chorus was as always in top form under the direction of A.Georgakatos.
A very welcome return which gave the Greek audience the opportunity to reassess this very interesting production
Fotos by D.Sakalakis