Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ferruccio Furlanetto as "King Philipp II. of Spain"; 22 February 2013

So after a 3 month long absence from blogging I'm back again. That were quite some 3 months when I look back on what I experienced this time, when thinking about opera. Thanks to Ferruccio Furlanetto and Agnes Baltsa - but especially Ferruccio Furlanetto that I must emphasize.

Now I don't want to go back too far, don't feel like talking about "L'Italiana in Algeri" tonight, but that will surely come sooner or later. Just that much - it was magic.

Tonight I want to get my critique of "Don Carlo" off my chest. Most certainly, for those who read that I'm from Austria, it will be understandable when I say I just heard the performance from 22 February 2013 at the MET. There are several live-streams on the MET's radio station, so I'll always be up-to-date now when it's about the "Don Carlo" performances. Too bad it's no TV broadcast! But I know Nicholas Hytner's production of the piece, so I can at least imagine where all singers were "running around".

The cast is as follows: 

Philip II, King of Spain                                            Ferruccio Furlanetto
Don Carlo,                                                             Ramon Vargas
crown prince of Spain 

The Princess of Eboli                                                Anna Smirnova
Elisabeth of Valois,                                                     Barbara Frittoli
daughter of Henry II
of France
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa                                            Dimitri Hvorostovsky        
The Grand Inquisitor                                                     Eric Halfvarson
conducted by Lorin Maazel
Performances on: February 22, 25, 28, March 6, 9, 13, 16
I'll keep my critique as short as possible.
 Well, I've got to admit that I was extremely curious about this "Don Carlo". Not only because Ferruccio Furlanetto would sing Philippo - no, he's always amazing, I don't have to be curious here. No, I was curious about finally getting to hear Ramon Vargas as Don Carlo. I've heard him several times here in Vienna, once he had a solo concert here which was good and I heard him as Gabriele Adorno in "Simon Boccanegra" in November 2012. I've always liked his voice, he's one great tenor in my opinion! Also he himself is just a nice person so he also has a good appearance on stage. However, this time his voice sounded a bit restrained in my opinion! Though, it was his first "Don Carlo" at the MET, so I will just skip my thinking about his voice being "restrained". He -his voice at least- absolutely suits this role, I liked to hear him very, very much - he's a true delight to hear in Verdi operas!                                                         
Anna Smirnova as Eboli, she was OK.. Finally a singer who puts a bit of fire in her "O don fatale" ! There are so many mezzos who perform this wonderful, furious aria in the most boring way possible! But she put at least a bit of fire into this famous part of the opera. Not an Agnes Baltsa, not a Luciana d'Intino, but she was OK. Case closed!
Dimitri Hvorostovsky was a very good, emotional Rodrigo, I've got literally nothing to complain about his performance, absolutely nothing! (though as personal side note: my favorite Rodrigo will always be Simon Keenlyside.... saw him last September as Rodrigo here - amazing! Apropos Keenlyside - he'll perform Alban Berg's "Wozzeck" here soon!)
Eric Halfvarson, well I don't really know what to comment here. I mean - the Grand Inquisitor is HIS role and he does it in the best way possible. His voice here sounds like the 90 year old Inquisitor, a very rough voice to my ears, but well. 
Ferruccio Furlanetto did the most amazing Philippo. His voice actually got new colors also in this role actually - that's what I think at least! Amazing!!! SO beautiful - I mean, there's nobody in this entire world who could do a Philipp more emotional, more authentic to the character! As soon as he puts on the costume HE IS the character! The "Ella giammai m'amo" - he shows the pain Philipp feels, he felt every single word! This performance made me cry. I cried. Literally. 
The anger during his duet with Elisabetta is overwhelming and makes me simply speechless. I loved it, every single second he sang. Looking forward to hearing him and seeing him performing Philippo in London!
The only actual complaint is about Barbara Frittoli. The worst Elisabetta I've ever heard! Surely she's a good singer, but the worst Elisabetta that I possibly could imagine. Emotionless and bland. The "Tu che le vanità" were some lifeless 11 minutes to me. She somehow sounded more than a bit nasal and I think she should pronounce the words a bit more clearly. The duet that I mentioned before, the "Giustizia, Sire" in Act IV - this duet should be full with emotions, full with anger from Philipps side -as it was- and it should include an Elisabetta who is absolutely indignant about what Philippo accuses her of and everything should be extremely vivid. It wasn't the case at all from Frittoli's side! Furlanetto performed his part of the duet full with rage and energy, but Frittoli just performed her part like a lullaby! Such a boring and lifeless Elisabetta, it's sad I couldn't skip her parts.
 All in all it was a performance of the opera that was OK. No singer, but Furlanetto, took my heart with his/ her performance, it was a performance that could have been 100000000 times better. That is sad to say, since when somebody like Lorin Maazel is conducting, I should be telling the opposite. 
Thank you Ferruccio Furlanetto, for saving this "Don Carlo"!He will always be the most amazing Philippo ever!

Here you can listen to my so loved duet from Act IV that was sort of destroyed by the lifeless performance of Barbara Frittoli. Nevertheless, the most amazing, enraged Philipp II of Spain by Ferruccio Furlanetto. 
Lyrics&Translation below the video. If the video doesn't display, click HERE


Giustizia! o Sire! Ho fè
Nella lealtà del Re.
Son nella Corte tua crudelmente trattata
E da nemici oscuri, incogniti, oltraggiata.
Lo scrigno ov'io chiudea, Sire, tutt'un tesor,
I gioiel'... altri oggetti a me più cari ancor...
L'hanno rapiti a me!... Giustizia! la reclamo
Da Vostra Maestà!

Quello che voi cercate


A voi d'aprirlo piaccia.

Ebben, io l'aprirò.

(Ah! mi sento morir!)

Il ritratto di Carlo!...


Tra i vostri gioiel'!


Confessarlo osate! A me!

Io l'oso! Sì!
Ben lo sapete, - un dì promessa
Al figlio vostro - fu la mia man;
Or v'appartengo - a Dio sommessa,
Ma immacolata - qual giglio io son.
Ed ora si sospetta
L'onor d'Elisabetta!..
Si dubita di me...
E chi m'oltraggia è il Re!

Ardita troppo - voi favellate!
Debole me credete e sfidarmi sembrate:
La debolezza in me può divenir furor.
Tremate allor - per voi, per me.

Il mio fallir qual è?

Se tanta infamia colmò la misura,
Se fui da voi tradito, lo giuro innanzi al ciel,
Il sangue io verserò!...

Pietà mi fate.

Ah! la pietà d'adultera consorte!


Soccorso alla Regina! 
Justice, Sire! I have faith
in the King's loyalty!
I have been unworthily treated in your court,
and insulted by unknown enemies …
My casket … it contains, Sire, a whole treasury,
my jewels … some even more precious objects …
It has been stolen! From my rooms! I beg justice
from your Majesty!

Your casket, Madam,
here it is!


May it please you to open it!
Elisabeth declines with a gesture.
Then I shall open it myself!

(God! come to my aid!)

A portrait of the Infante! A portrait of the Infante!


Among your jewels?


What! You admit it before me!

Yes, before you!
You know it!
I was promised to Don Carlos, to your son!
I came to you, submissive to God,
as pure as the French fleur-de-lys!
You dare, in a fit of madness,
to doubt a King's daughter!
To doubt a daughter of France! …
the Queen of all Spain … me!

You speak to me rashly!
You have known me only in my days of frailty!
But frailty may one day turn to fury.
Then, woe, woe betide you. Ah!

What crime have I committed?

If your wickedness has run its full course,
if you have betrayed me … by almighty God
tremble! Tremble! I shall have blood!

I protest!

You, protest, an adulterous wife!


Help for the Queen!



Gerechtigkeit! Sire! Ich vertraue
auf den gerechten Sinn des Königs!
Ich werde an Eurem Hof unwürdig behandelt
und von unbekannten Feinden beleidigt …
Meine Schatulle … Sire, sie enthält alles, was mir wert ist,
meine Juwelen … noch grössere Kostbarkeiten …
Man hat sie gestohlen! Aus meinen Räumen! Gerechtigkeit! Das fordere ich
von Eurer Majestät!

Eure Schatulle, Madame,
hier ist sie!


Geruht Ihr sie zu öffnen?
Dann werde ich selbst sie öffnen!

Gott! Stehe mir bei!

Ein Porträt des Infanten! Ihr hüllt Euch in Schweigen?
Ein Porträt des Infanten!


Unter Euren Juwelen?


Wie! Und Ihr gesteht es vor mir!

Vor Euch!
Ihr wisst es! Ich war
Don Carlos versprochen, Eurem Sohn!
Ich war Gott gehorsam und kam zu Euch,
rein wie die Lilien Frankreichs.
Ihr wagt es, mit Blindheit geschlagen,
einer Königstochter zu misstrauen,...
einer Tochter Frankreichs,...
der Königin von Spanien.... mir!

Das nenne ich beherzt gesprochen!
Ihr habt mich nur ... an Tagen der Schwäche gekannt.
Doch die Schwäche kann eines Tages in Zorn umschlagen.
Dann wehe Euch und allen!

Welches Verbrechen habe ich begangen?

Wenn das Mass der Schändlichkeit voll ist,
wenn Ihr mich betrogen habt,beim allmächtigen Gott,
dann müsst Ihr zittern! Dann vergiesse ich Blut!

Ich kann Euch nur bedauern!

Ihr! Mich bedauern! Eine Ehebrecherin!


Helft der Königin!

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