In an unfavorable economic context and in a landscape in which culture is just beginning to emerge after the blows of the pandemic, opera (one of the most expensive and difficult to stage shows, and least profitable at the monetary level) has not yet finished consolidating the flowering before 2020 in our country.
In this frame, the one hundred percent independent production of an ambitious title like Rulewith the participation of over 100 professional artists in a room like the Avenida Theater and for a single performance, it is a great achievement.
In the last few years of very short life, and himself overwhelmed by the cholera epidemic that had spread in Europe since the end of 1820, wrote Vincenzo Bellini Rulebased on a tragedy by Alexandre Soumet.
On the one hand there is the argument: the tribulations of the high priestess of the druids he secretly had two children with Pollione, the Roman proconsul in Gaulbut he is threatened by his love for a another consecrated girl, Adalgisa …
But aside from the plot, the charm of the work lies in the beauty of Felice Romani’s linesin the vocal treatment that Bellini reserves for him, and – above all – in the main role, written to measure one of the greatest singer-actresses of all time: Giuditta Pasta.
As simple as the plot (or probably because of it), the staging of this opera is always a dilemma for directors: the multi-section arias and duets and the endings of the acts – both raw materials of the dramatic structure of the his time – time extends to exasperation.
The making of by Boris (one of the most passionate figures in the genre and most active in disseminationthe saving and production of opera titles in our country) does not escape conventions and, without venturing into a rereading that could be risky, limits itself to a traditional marking that gives singers total freedom of gesture.
The scenic setting by Oscar Bonardi is functional – although it could have been integrated with greater use of lighting resources – and the costumes, borrowed from the Teatro Colón production in 2018, are ideal.
The production is tailored for the soprano Haydée Dabustiwho performs this unique function for a total of 40 performances of Norma, one of her favorite roles.
After the age of 60, Dabusti (whose singing currently shines more in a center of warm tones than in the high notes, with a somewhat fixed and less comfortable sound) maintains a clear timbrewithout the pronounced vibrato that often plagues voices after a certain age, and can sing the role with her eyes closed.
The trans soprano María Castillo de Lima was a solid counterpart.
Her voice has an enormous volume which in Adalgisa’s tessitura (a role usually assigned to a mezzo-soprano, although played in the first by the soprano Giulia Grisi) acquires flexibility, which allows her to play with the dynamics and rubato of the line. , and her duet with Norma in the second act was perhaps the most accomplished moment of the evening.
Despite some rhythmic jolts, the tenor Nazareth Aufe played the role of Pollio in great shape. Cristian de Marco added the dark timbre of him as the old Oroveso, and Nicolás Sánchez (Flavio), with good vocal material, and Alicia Ceccotti as Clotilde completed the cast.
Reading by the young director César Tello, one of the most devoted followers of early Italian romanticismit oscillated between fidelity to the practices of the time (such as the da capo ornament in Ah bello, a mer Returns) and the freedom for the singers to interpolate all kinds of cauldrons and treble notes.
In turn, Tello was successful in the challenge that always involves the arrangement of an orchestra and a choir formed specifically for the occasion with a never enough number of rehearsals, and a framework of soloists with different vocal flows.
Although the decision to place trumpets and trombones in an avant-garde stage, motivated by the size of the pit, did not help balance, fill or rhythmic accuracy, the instrumental ensemble had a notable performance, as did the young choir prepared by Pablo Quinteros.
Rulework of Vincenzo Bellini
Musical direction: Cesare Tello
Direction of scene: Boris
Stay: Avenida Theater, Saturday 29 October