Adriana L...Dec 4&7. My story

Angela Gheorghiu - Adriana Lecouvreur / Jonas Kaufmann - Maurizio / Bonaventura Bottone - l'Abbate / Alessandro Corbelli - Michonnet / Maurizio Muraro - Il Principe / Olga Borodina - La Principessa

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House / Mark Elder - conductor


I got back to ROH. Couldn’t help it. It’s addictive. The first Adriana I saw, two weeks ago, finished too soon and left me with some question marks. I couldn’t pay attention to everything so I wanted to return. And I did. I was a little bit stressed because of the flights cancelled on Wednesday and Thursday, but in the end the airport opened. And my dear colleagues at work, knowing why I go to London, spent the whole Friday making jokes about weather. Grrrrrr… but I survived 🙂

The second Adriana I saw was different. I’m not talking about the voices. They are all great. It’s about the feeling I got from the stage. It’s that emotion that makes me forget about everything around me. It’s that THING that each person in the audience takes from what he/she’s offered. I try to imagine how hard it should be for those on stage to perform in order to make us belive in what they're doing. It’s actually hard to explain how this energy wave works in the venue. You have to be there to sense it. For sure I got from this performance what I expected. I enjoyed every note. The movement on stage and the acting made more sense. My favorite part is still the last act. What can be more touching than the moment Adriana faces the fact that everything is a illusion and it's not her destiny to be happy... "No, la mia fronte, che pensier non muta, regale insegna non sapria portar: la mia corona e sol d'erbe intessuta, ed e un palco il mio trono e un falso altar..." And inside act 4, a few seconds when Adriana and Maurizio sing together "Il nostro amor sfida la morte, fuga la morte nel sogno d'or...Deh, vien sul cor..."(the last part of fragment below. but I put the entire moment just to see how the intensity rises. Audio from the performance on 30.11, the one broadcasted on BBC3 on 04.12). There are only a few notes, but very powerful ones.

The entire act 4 is closely followed (in terms of likeness, from my point of view) by Adriana’s monologue in the end of act III and the duet Adriana/Principessa in the end of act 2.

Oh, and if I mentioned this, I have to talk a little bit about Borodina. Very strong, Russian voice. More like Turandot or Amneris voice than Principessa, if speaking about intensity. I tried to ignore the accent, obvious especially during “Stella d’oriente” aria. Most of the times her voice was the strongest and she made both A&J sing louder (or so it seemed). I would have liked her to be just a little bit softer in voice and gestures, but preserving the attitude. After all Principessa is not a warrior, she’s just a woman in love who feels betrayed.

Visually speaking, I chose two moments as favorites. The first one is in act 1, during Michonnet’s aria. He’s sitting on the stairs of the stage (the one on stage) and tells what happens there. I told this before. I like that the director actually thought of showing us part of the performance, with actors, including Adriana, moving and miming words. This way Michonnet’s words have more meaning. The second one is in act 2, right before the duet Adriana/Principessa. Before knocking at the door, Adriana extinguishes (is this the right word??) all the candles. The light dims out. In the meantime the orchestra plays a combination of Principessa’s aria (Acerba volluta) and Maurizio’s aria (La dolcissima effigie), as if stating that these two are connected and this will affect Adriana. And the same tune is heard when Adriana is trying to explain her that she wants to help. You see, the more I see the opera, the more things I discover.

Adriana dies and the opera finishes. On the 4th of December the audience was warmer than on November 22. The applauded after each aria and in the end lots of bravos were heard. When Jonas came on stage, someone from the lower slips on the left threw a teddy bear on the stage. He picked it up and waved in that direction. Then Angela came to salute the audience and the second teddy bear landed on stage, at her feet. Jonas picked it up for her. I thought it was a sweet gesture. Just to show the appreciation, nothing more. And they both seemed to enjoy it, as you’ll see in the pictures. Jonas's bear even got a special place, in between his shirt and coat. So this was the famous “teddy bear story”. Short, isn’t it? Told now it might not make too much sense, but it was part of that evening. For me it was that kind of performance that once ended I’d give anything to see it all over again.

But hey, I saw it all over again, on December 7. It was a different kind of experience. I just love when what I get too see overcomes my expectations. These are the best moments, when you have no idea what’s going to happen to you but in the end you get to be the happiest person on earth.

So I saw Adriana three times. Four, if you count Berlin too. Please, don’t hate me, ok? 🙂 I wish you all to experience this. It was great to meet some of my friends at the backstage door. The performance that has just finished always continues there. Many, many stories are told for those who have time to listen to them. We’ll meet again in 6 months. Same time, same place 😉

The “Adriana in London” adventure ended, but the dear memories remain with me, stored on my fluffy, white, private cloud. I already miss it, but I have the feeling I'll see it again in a few years. Angela, thank you! For that way of singing that makes me forget breathing, for your kind smile. For everything.

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