Dec 16, 2006 10:32 am
Ekaterina Siurina is an extraordinary bel canto singer. She gave one of the most moving performances of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi that I have ever heard. A more recent performance (I can’t remember what) was surprisingly ordinary. I will be interested to see how she does with Gilda, a role which may be more appropriate to her skills.

From Fred Cohn’s review of the November premiere in Opera News:

“From his [Joseph Calleja] first notes, it was clear that we were in the presence of a star tenor. With its idiosyncratic fast vibrato, Calleja’s is a distinctive voice, but also quite beautiful… The uses to which he put that extraordinary sound, though, were sometimes questionable.”

“Russian soprano Ekaterina Siurina, in her Met debut as Gilda, possess a narrow but well-projected voice, well-schooled and nimbly controlled. She is small and lithe–physically every in the naïve maiden. It was a performance more notable, though, for vocal poise than for intensity of expression.”

“For all the excitement generated by the new faces onstage, the evening’s center of interest stayed right where it should be, in the title character… Pons knows both the role and his own capabilities so well that every moment he was able to call upon a vocal gesture that ably served Verdi’s monumental creation. “Cortigiani! vil razza” was overwhelming, earning the evening’s most fevered ovation.”

What I heard in the Sirius broadcast last week was similar. Calleja seemed the weak link—not the strong, lusty, irresistible Duke that I was expecting. While I can agree with Fred Cohn that Siurina’s performance had more poise than intensity, somehow I fell that it was dramatically appropriate. When I think of intense characters in opera, Gilda is not one that readily comes to mind. I think Gilda works better as a contrast to the other characters. Siurina played a caring and loving Gilda, isolated from the world, to be swept away by the outside forces of power, resentment and revenge. Pons was definitely a dominating presence, an excellent and very moving Rigoletto.


~ by severalfourmany on December 16, 2006.

One Response to “Rigoletto”

  1. Correction: Carlos Alvarez played Rigoletto on the 8 December broadcast that I heard as well as the broadcast this afternoon, not Juan Pons.

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