Freitag, 16. Januar 2009

Reports about Lucia

Here are some reports about Lucia on 14th January:

Out of "The Scotsman"

FOR 15 minutes, the celebrated Mariinsky Theatre rang with applause, a packed audience calling back the cast seven times. The world's leading diva, Anna Netrebko, and Scotland's national opera company basked in the adulation of the St Petersburg crowd.
Tickets for Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti's opera from Sir Walter Scott's tragic novel of warring Scots families, had quickly sold out and were changing hands on the black market for up to £800, double their face value.

Four years ago, Scottish Opera was on its knees. It was beset with financial problems, had lost its permanent chorus and was struggling to prove it had a future.

But yesterday, the Mariinsky Theatre production – with its Scottish costumes, sets and props, in a show conceived by an award-winning Scots director – was hailed as a triumph.

Critics predicted a bright future on the global stage for the resurgent company, describing the success as an international calling card.

Dafydd Burne Jones, Scottish Opera's staff producer, who went to St Petersburg for the rehearsals, was thrilled to be back in the spotlight. "It's fabulous for us, it's wonderful for us, it's almost a vindication," he said. "It gets us noticed, and people have been enormously complimentary about our working here."

The famed conductor Valery Gergiev had picked the show, by the Scottish director John Doyle, after his visit to the Edinburgh International Festival last summer.

He had been on the look-out for a production of Lucia for Netrebko and was won over by Scottish Opera's innovative production.

Minimalist sets with dark brooding colours caught his eye and a deal was struck to export the production to Russia.

Normally, productions such as this are planned years in advance, but Gergiev was keen to move quickly and, just after Christmas, two containers packed with sets, props and more than 50 costumes were shipped out to the Mariinsky Theatre. The stage floor was sent in pieces.

Netrebko's costumes had to be remade, but everyone else's were those worn in Scotland: their loose fittings made them easier to adjust.

The diva was delighted with the production and after the show spoke appreciatively of Scottish Opera's contribution, a fact that is bound to be noted in the opera world.

Netrebko said: "What I most appreciate in Doyle's staging is that all characters come very naturally to the singers.

"It feels as though it is all for real. A bel canto opera should never be overloaded with special effects or opulent scenery, and in this respect Doyle's is a very tactful staging that grants the singers the liberty and the space to act. The dark minimalist scenery very much works to the show's advantage."

The return to prominence is expected to mean an increased demand for Scottish Opera's services.

Mr Jones said: "With the audience coming to see it here (in St Petersburg], it puts the company name on show and in front of a very large international public.

"It's a tremendous piece of publicity for Scotland. This is very much on the international stage."

He went on: ''There are a bunch of posters all over the town, in the hotels, and we have just had another TV station turn up to do an interview. It's clearly a big public event. We have got a good deal of news coverage out of it on national TV."

The opera's general director, Alex Reedijk, was in St Petersburg for the performance and was overwhelmed at the reception it received.

He said: "We ended up with a 15-minutes standing ovation. I think that's a measure of, not only how much Anna is a local girl done good, but also how much they enjoyed her performance.

"I'm delighted our work survived being transported across the frozen steppes, and it was a full house. It looked handsome and smart.

"I'm hopeful it will lead to other business in general because, from Europe's perspective, Scotland is very small and a long distance away. With Europe, it will seem a quiet sense of Scottish Opera being in a good place."

Linda Fabiani, the culture minister, has already hailed the production as "a mark of the tremendous talent being nurtured in Scotland".

Kenneth Walton, the music critic for The Scotsman, said the 18-month lease of Scottish Opera's production, for an undisclosed sum, was very much part of its strategy to exploit commercial opportunities.

"Any story like this is good news for Scotland and Scottish Opera. The fact that such a prestigious company is taking it up is also testament to its artistic success," he said.

Jonathan Mills, the Edinburgh Festival director, has previously spoken of strengthening links with the Mariinsky. He said exporting Lucia had "already broken down many borders" and he would be inviting the Russians back "again and again".

THE enthralling soprano Anna Netrebko made a long-awaited stage comeback, singing the title role in John Doyle's rendition of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at St Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre, captivating the audience with the exuberance of her voice and stage presence.

The role of Lucia in this ascetic, elegant production, which won high acclaim when it premiered at the Scottish Opera two years ago, perfectly suited Netrebko's voice and stage personality. The diva was on top form vocally, with a fluid, soaring style.

Doyle's minimalist and unorthodox staging, where black and charcoal grey are the predominant colours and the scenery – which consists solely of steps and square columns designed by Liz Ashcroft – created a winning environment for Netrebko, contrasting visual simplicity with tonal opulence.

Returning to the stage after more than six months on maternity leave, the singer was sparkling.

Netrebko's voice has gained a richer, lower register and offers an exuberant velvet timbre that is captivating with warmth and colour. The effect was rather like being submerged in pleasantly viscous honey.

Artistically, Lucia revealed a new side of Netrebko. Gone was the girlish vivaciousness of her moves. Not a hint of that was felt at the premiere. Swiftness of gesture was replaced by the languid sensuality of an Art Nouveau nymph.

Out of the "St. Petersburg Times"

“I am happy, I am so very happy,” whispered Mariinsky star soprano Anna Netrebko, one of the world’s most acclaimed opera singers, as the curtain fell. The 37-year-old diva, who in September gave birth to her first child, son Tiago, made a triumphant comeback on stage on Wednesday night singing Lucia in John Doyle’s production of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

The role of Lucia in Doyle’s ascetic and elegant production, which became a favorite with both critics and audiences after it premiered at the Scottish Opera in 2007, came naturally to Netrebko. The diva was on top form vocally with a fluid, soaring style.

The Mariinsky’s artistic director Valery Gergiev searched for a director to stage “Lucia” for many months after discovering Netrebko’s interest in the role. The maestro came across Doyle’s staging in August 2008 during his company’s tour to the Edinburgh International Festival, and immediately felt the production would be ideal for Netrebko.

The deal was sealed in October, leaving the company just over two months to prepare. The sets arrived in St. Petersburg in December. “There was some time pressure with the rehearsals, but I really feel everything went beautifully, very smoothly on the opening night,” Netrebko said, smiling, after the premiere.

Doyle’s production is the first by the Scottish Opera to be produced on the Russian stage.
Alex Reedjik, the company’s general director, spoke to reporters in the U.K. with pride and excitement about the Russian premiere. “We are truly delighted,” Reedjik said. “She is one of the world’s leading sopranos, who has created many important roles around the world.”

“It is a terrific opportunity not only for Scottish Opera, but it is also a way of showing to the wider world what is going on in Scotland. We like to think of it as an export made entirely in Scotland.”

Reedjik flew to St. Petersburg to attend the premiere on Wednesday.

In her first performance after more than six months’ maternity leave the opera superstar captivated the audience with the exuberance of both her voice and stage presence.

The air was intense with anticipation at the Mariinsky theater on Wednesday night.

John Doyle’s production of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor,” originally staged for the Scottish Opera in 2007, was generously advertised in St. Petersburg, with large billboards posted across the city, and a wealth of television and radio ads.

The show generated tremendous audience interest. In September 2008, Netrebko gave birth to a son, Tiago, fathered by Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott. She was absent from the stage for more than half a year. She had to cancel, among others, a production of “Manon” at New York’s Metropolitan Opera where she had been scheduled to perform from the second half of December 2008 to the first half of January 2009.

The St. Petersburg premiere sold out long before the New Year, within days of the first tickets going on sale.

The cheapest tickets were a bargain at $65, while black market prices soared, reaching $1,050.

“We paid 2,000 rubles [$63] per ticket, which got us seats on the balcony on the top row of the theater,” said Anna, a management student, who attended the premiere with a friend. “I am not what you would call a devoted opera-goer, but I just couldn’t miss this evening. A Russian singer who evolved into an international celebrity, Anna is a Cinderella story come alive. Her life is like a fairy tale that has come true, and that attracts me.”

Despite the enormous interest the premiere has generated, the atmosphere for Netrebko’s stage comeback was surprisingly low-key. There was an abundance of flowers, but no banquet or formal reception after the show.

“Anna Netrebko made a conscious decision in choosing the Mariinsky stage for her return as she sought to muffle the stress of a stage comeback after months of absence,” said Mariinsky spokeswoman Galina Pavlova. “This stage feels like home, and her dedicated audiences feel almost as close as family.”

One of the world’s most acclaimed sopranos, whose stage comeback was eagerly anticipated, Netrebko admitted that she did not miss the stage and had not been rehearsing at all until a few weeks ago when she started on ‘Lucia.’

“My life revolves around my child now,” the diva smiled. “I have been spending all my time with Tiago who doesn’t give me a chance to catch up on my sleep, let alone anything else.”

Netrebko’s next engagements include “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the New York’s Metropolitan Opera which premieres on Jan. 26.

I'm unbelievable happy that she is back now and everything is alright with her and her voice ! =) I'm looking so, so forward to her first performance together with Rolando on 26th at the Met !

Thanks to Eliane for the information

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