Nabucco, the opera that saved Verdi from bankruptcy, was premiered at the Teatro Colón

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Nabucco, the opera that saved Verdi from bankruptcy, was premiered at the Teatro Colón

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Great staging for Nabucco, Verdi’s opera at the Colón. Press photo Teatro Colón

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After waiting period of more than two years that the pandemic has imposed (the production should have opened the 2020 season), is finally back at Colón Nabucco, Giuseppe Verdi’s first masterpiece.

Well known is the story of how this work, presented for the first time in 1842, it literally saved the career of a depressed Verdi from bankruptcy of his previous work, and how time has transformed his message into a kind of prophecy of the Risorgimento (Rebirth), although there was no explicit intention of the composer or librettist, Temistocle Solera, to ignite patriotic fervor.

More than the desire for freedom, the main conflict of the work (which portrays the subjugation and imprisonment of the Jewish people at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon) is one of the most traveled themes in the opera and especially in the production by Verdi: the dilemma between power, duty and love.

And, no less important, there is another of the central themes in the creation of Verdi: the suffering of the fatherin this case Nabucco, who finds himself in the middle of the confrontation between his daughters Abigaille and Fenena for the love of Ismaele.

Nabucco was able to debut at the Colón, after two years of waiting due to the pandemic.  Press photo Teatro Colón,

Nabucco was able to debut at the Colón, after two years of waiting due to the pandemic. Press photo Teatro Colón,

No explicit references

Stefano Podaauthor of an integral concept of which he is the author in the staging, scenography, costumes, lights and choreography, chooses not to make explicit references to the original context, but to trace an abstract, futuristic and stripped-down proposal.

The plan provides magnificent visual beauty (especially in the combination of semi-transparent textures with lighting), even if the theatrical aspect is not so convincing.

Statism imposed on singers deprives the work of exposing the internal conflicts of the characters and its external manifestations, and an omnipresent cast of dancers and extras, the almost constant displacement of the spinning disk and the rise and fall of gigantic structures become repetitive elements that are more distracting than they contribute.

Nabucco's staging is so grandiose that it can distract from the plot.  Press photo Teatro Colón.

Nabucco’s staging is so grandiose that it can distract from the plot. Press photo Teatro Colón.

Exquisite music and direction

The musical direction was in the hands of the Argentine Carlo Vecchio, you did a great job in concert at the head of the cast, the choir and the Stable Orchestra (with moments of enormous beauty, such as the famous prayer of Zaccaria) and agility impressed on the times and the flight towards vocal expression.

In the main quintet of soloists, the deep voices stood out. Like Nabucco, Romanian Sebastian Catana has been successful in stylepresence and voice, even if the stage concept did not help him to show the evolution and nuances of his character.

The bass Rafal Siwek impressed as Zacharias, and his vocal and theatrical authority was a fundamental pillar of the version. Also The performance of the Argentine half Guadalupe Barrientos was anthological (Fenena), with a vocal performance that at times exceeded all the others in volume.

The choir, as Verdi thought, had a transcendental role in Nabucco.  Press photo Teatro Colón.

The choir, as Verdi thought, had a transcendental role in Nabucco. Press photo Teatro Colón.

Slovenian soprano Rebeka Lokar was challenged to bring Abigaille to life, one of the most difficult roles in the repertoire of all time. Her imposing physique helped add stage presence, but her voice sounded erratic, with weightless bass and a pronounced vibrato that clouded her tone.

With invariable good taste and musicality, Darío Schmunck (Ishmael) failed to deliver enough volume, especially in ensembles. Mariana Carnovali (Anna), Mario De Salvo (High Priest) and Gabriel Renaud (Abdallo) completed the cast with excellent interventions.

there is nothing exceptional Nabucco without a great choir, and the team headed by Miguel Martínez had the opportunity here to do so show off the excellence of a renewed assemblywith young voices, who know how to deal with a tiring scenography (as in this case) and provide an impeccable interpretation, not only in the highly anticipated ok I thinkbut at all times, especially in difficult situations immense Jehovah.


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