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25 July 2014
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Hoffmann a success in Turin after 35 years
by Silvia Luraghi
Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann
Teatro Regio di Torino
8 February 2009

Photo: Ramella & Giannese / Teatro Regio TorinoIn 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.

Text © Silvia Luraghi
Photo © Ramella & Giannese / Teatro Regio Torino
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