A highlight, the Matilde di Shabran of this year’s opera in Bad Wildbad, given during its yearly Rossini Festival. Rossini composed the opera for the Teatro Apollonia in Rome. Last minute changes and time constraints made him ask the composer Giovanni Pacini to help out with 3 musical numbers. When the opera was later staged in Naples, Rossini exchanged the numbers written by Pacini with own compositions. The Bad Wildbad Festival decided to stage the opera in its first Roman version, with the Pacini numbers, among which the Matilde-Edoardo duet in act 2 and the Introduction to Act II. The director of this production was Stefania Bonfadelli, who I fondly remember as excellent soprano. As director she brings us into a journalistic, men-dominated newsroom, tyrannized by the choleric Corradino. The sets are nice in its grey, straight lines, which could represent Corradino’s cold soul (before meeting Matilde). The text is not always properly mirrored but overall the setting works. It was musically however, that the opera took off. Although the orchestra (new to Bad Wildbad) was not at its best, José Miguel Pérez conducted with much inspiration. Very good Michele Angelini as Corradino. The agility did not seem to pose the slightest problem and the voice is tender in its more lyric passages. Where Sara Blanch was slightly more convincing as Matilde is the ease she moves on stage, almost with a bit of cockiness in her inspired rendering of Matilde. Equally at ease with coloratura she moves up and down the pentagram as if it was the most natural thing in the world. With such singers their musical numbers were an absolute pleasure, Corradino’s entrance aria with its almost frantic runs, Matilde’s closing aria and most of all the quintet in act 1. Victoria Yarovaya had a warm voice which merged well with the soprano in Pacini’s duet No, Matilde non morrai. All other singers also contributed significantly to the success of the opera.
Two minor operas at this year’s festival, but nonetheless worth seeing, were L’accademia di musica by Giovanni Simone Mayr and I tre gobbi by Manuel Garcia. L’accademia di musica, though a thin libretto, had an excellent cast. Two of the singers, Maria del Mar Humanes and César Cortes were members in the masterclass which Bad Wildbad organizes every year. I particularly liked the agile though firm voice and the sparkly stage presence of Maria del Mar Humanes. Filippo Morace combines good actorial skills with a good technical preparation, while Ricardo Seguel sings well his part of Cecchino. Correctly sung and excellently interpreted was the Momoletto of Filippo Pina Castiglioni. Nicola Pascoli directs with much verve. Eleonora Bellocci is one of these voices to follow closely, strong in its middle register, excellent top notes, clear coloratura and refined interpretation. She interpreted also the role of Vezzosa in the one-act opera I tre gobbi by Manuel Garcia (who was Rossini’s first Count Almaviva and father of Maria Malibran) on a libretto by Goldoni and accompanied by one piano. The libretto is extremely modern for its time (a woman, finding herself wooed by three men, the rich Parpagnacco, the beautiful Bellavita and the good Macaco, not being able to chose, decides to live with the 3 of them) and Garcia composes lovely melodies for this spirited libretto. I already said about the positive impression of Eleonora Bellocci, I also enjoyed the three men, especially the nice timbre and agile voice of Javier Povedano. All four were accompanied on the piano by Andres Jesus Gallucci with much empathy, liveliness and passion.
Matilde di Shabran, Conductor-José Miguel Pérez-Sierra, Director and costumes-Stefania Bonfadelli, Scenes-Serena Rocco, Lights-Michael Feichtmeier, Corradino-Michele Angelini, Matilde di Shabran-Sara Blanch, Raimondo-Lopez Shi Zong, Edoardo-Victoria Yarovaya, Aliprando-Emmanuel Franco, Isidoro-Giulio Mastrototaro, Contessa d‘Arco-Lamia Beuque, Ginardo-Ricardo Seguel, Egoldo-Julian Henao Gonzalez, Rodrigo-Julian Henao Gonzalez 27 Juli, 2019, Photo von Patrick Pfeiffer
L’accademia di musica, Musikalische Leitung -Nicola Pascoli, Regiekonzept -Lorenzo Regazzo, Szenenbild -Dragan Denda, Kostüm -Raffaella Marinelli, Licht-Oliver Porst, Guglielmo -Filippo Morace, Valerio-César Cortes, Annetta -Eleonora Bellocci, Cecchino -Ricardo Seguel, Vespina -Maria del Mar Humanes, Momoletto -Filippo Pina Castiglioni, 27 Juli 2019
I tre gobbi: Musikalische Leitung-Andres Jesus Gallucci, Regie-Jochen Schönleber, Kostüm-Martin Warth, Licht-Oliver Porst, Madama Vezzosa-Eleonora Bellocci, Il conte Bellavita-Patrick Kabongo, Il barone Macaco-Emmanuel Franco, Il marchese Parpagnacco-Javier Povedano, 26 Juli 2019, Photo by Fabio Salmeri