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Everyone returns victorious in San Carlo's Aida

Por , 30 julio 2020

With the second of the events to celebrate its reopening, Teatro di San Carlo has scored another hit. The open-air performances on the Piazza del Plebiscito are extraordinary both for the symbolic meaning that the resumption of activities implies, for the value of the artists who accepted the invitation and, last but not least, for the quality of the performance and the sensations felt by the public.

Anita Rachvelishvili (Amneris) and Jonas Kaufmann (Radamès)
© Francesco Squeglia

This Aida was a truly outstanding concert performance with very high-quality peaks; the emotions flowed copiously from the stage to the public. “Return victorious”, sings the Ethiopian slave, and the return of San Carlo has many victors, indeed: the management who strongly wanted to reopen in this spectacular way, the singers – some of them are among the best in the world – and, last but not least, the conductor Michele Mariotti with the Orchestra and the Choir of the San Carlo Theatre.

Anna Pirozzi was an excellent Aida, alternating vehement interpretations and passages of painful sweetness, always finding the right dramatic colours and nuances. In the final tomb scene, the pathos she created was poignant, an emotional crescendo where she stood out with her strong dramatic phrasing and moving interpretation.   

Next to her, there was the excellent Radamès sung by Jonas Kaufmann. Famously, he has a generous voice and his interpretative refinements admirably depicted the various sides of the character. Kaufmann’s timbre is that of a powerful lyric tenor with a nice projection. If his pianissimi, notably at the beginning of “Celeste Aida”, were not as beautiful as his middle voice, his dialogues with Pirozzi and Rachvelishvili were convincingly lively and passionate. In his duets with Pirozzi the singers were on the same wavelength as they created subtle and intimate nuances.

Anita Rachvelishvili (Amneris), Jonas Kaufmann (Radamès), Anna Pirozzi (Aida) and Michele Mariotti
© Francesco Squeglia

In the role of Amneris, Anita Rachvelishvili showed an excellent, powerful timbre and a wide texture. She designed her character with warm energy, a sublime technique and a shimmering voice. Claudio Sgura was a great Amonasro, his best moment being in the duet with his daughter Aida, where he showed beautiful phrasing, painful introspection and a warm vocal extension. 

Roberto Tagliavini gave a very fine Ramfis; as did Fabrizio Beggi as the King of Egypt. Gianluca Floris (A messenger) and Selene Zanetti (A priestess) showed exceptional performances, too. The prayer of the priestess intoned in the temple was delivered with a flawless, limpid lyric soprano.

Aida is an opera with many facets. Although it is best known for its Triumphal March, the intimate component is predominant. Mariotti clearly chose to smooth the contrasts in order to make the score flow more freely and enjoyably; a convincing conducting and orchestration, where he fine-tuned every transition from the lyrical atmosphere to the lavish and at times rowdy grand opéra moments of the work. The orchestra and chorus were excellent: especially, their “Possente Ftha” (Oh mighty Phta) was stunning.

****1
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Crítica hecha desde Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples el 28 julio 2020
Verdi, Aida (Concert performance)
Michele Mariotti, Director
Anita Rachvelishvili, Amneris
Jonas Kaufmann, Radamès
Claudio Sgura, Amonasro
Anna Pirozzi, Aida
Roberto Tagliavini, Ramfis
Selene Zanetti, Priestess
Gianluca Floris, A messenger
Fabrizio Beggi, King of Egypt
Coro del Teatro di San Carlo
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