In memory of Elena Obraztsova (7 July 1939 – 12 January 2015)
Lovers of Il trovatore a work famous for its perennially popular cavatinas and cabalettas rightly expect the singers to be at the very top of their vocal game and particularly look forward to the top C at the end of Manrico s stretta, a true do di petto produced not from the head but from the chest. Yet the production of the work that was staged at the end of 2013 by the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin jointly run by Daniel Barenboim and Jürgen Flimm deliberately flouted these expectations and traded familiarity for astonishment. Such a reaction was due not only to the two most famous singers of our age, both of whom were appearing onstage for the first time in their respective roles, but also to the company s music director, who made it abundantly clear that he was concerned with more than just a feast for the ears and rousing rum-ti-tum rhythms.
…It's like a production I would expect to see at the ENO in London. Where they short of money that season, or did someone just want to get a kick out of watching perfomers attempt to navigate the set without falling over!! Eva Marton is totally mis-cast as Leonora; it grieves me to say this because I adore her and have screamed myself hoarse at her perfomances of Turandot, Tosca and Elektra at Covent Garden - but here, oh dear… By N. Gallimore