spite of heavy budget cuts for all opera companies in Italy, Turin's
Teatro Regio has not yet announced any changes in the current season.
Before some performances of the current production, which features
Jacques Offenbach's Les Contes d' Hoffmann, members of the company,
accompanied by the general manager, went on stage and explained possible
damages to the otherwise well administrated Teatro Regio, if the government
does not change its announced policy. On February 14th, the orchestra
and chorus of the Teatro Regio will join all other musical institutions
in Turin and give free concerts to call attention on current issues
regarding funding for the arts.
In the meantime, Hoffmann is finishing its run in a very successful
manner. The production by Nicolas Joël is coproduced with the Teatro
Real, Madrid, Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse and New Israeli Opera of
Tel Aviv. The sets by Ezio Frigerio were impressive: they set the initial
part of the action in a 19th century train station, very similar to
Paris's Gare d'Orsay; partial changes hinted to the various settings
of Hoffmann's loves. The beautiful 19th century costumes were designed
by Franca Squarciapino.
In the title role, tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz replaced Roberto Aronica,
who cancelled shortly before opening night. He displayed a handsome
voice, in spite of a somewhat throaty emission. As Olympia soprano Désirée
Rancatore brought down the house with her agile top notes and her hilarious
theatrical rendering of the mechanical puppet. Soprano Raffaella Angeletti
as Antonia was disappointing: her voice sounded unwieldy and not delicate
as it should have been. Mezzo Monica Bacelli was a flawless Giulietta,
even though one missed some sensuality in her voice.
The best on stage turned out to be mezzo Nino Surguladze as Nicklausse:
she displayed a nicely colored voice, perfectly tuned, with very good
theatrical skills. Bass Alfonso Antoniozzi as the four villain was certainly
very professional, but not especially devilish, while tenor Carlo Bosi
did his best as the servants. The cast was completed by Armando Ariostini
as Peter Schlémil and Giovanna Lanza as Antonia's mother.
The orchestra was conducted with enthusiasm by Emmanuel Villaume. Offenbach'
opera had not been seen in Turin for 35 years, and the audience highly
appreciated this opportunity to see it.