To celebrate the transition to the New Year, Madrid’s Teatro Real is lighting up its evenings this winter with Bellini’s Sleepwalker, offering fireworks from the vocal acrobatics of Jessica Pratt and Xabier Anduaga.
The tradition is remembered by two dolls clinging to a single tree that survives from a forest with only its neighboring stumps left. Años viejos » (putting aside the old years and entering the new), comes from Latin America. In front of the tree, a woman in a white nightgown (obviously Amina) is surrounded by nine dancers, tormenting her like ghostly spirits with several powerful inspirations. It is with this silent introduction that director Bárbara Lluch, with the help of screenwriter Christoph Hetzer, plunges the viewer into a world full of symbols and superstitions.
Tonight at the Teatro Real in Madrid, the sets will maintain this sobriety, the walls of the room materializing only as sheets are air-dried, the rest of the “forest” giving way to an oven, then a machine. simple wooden house for the second act. Urs Schönebaum’s lighting contributes greatly to the creation of these very characteristic atmospheres: Amina, cold and almost green at the end of the day, then orange, surrounded by a white aura during sleepwalking attacks, separated from the rest like an angel. Choreographies by Metamorphosis Dance Company directors Iratxe Ansa and Igor Bacovich move scenes that may suffer from the disconnect between the innocent hero’s certain stasis and his intense anxieties embodied by these dancing spirits. Clara Peluffo’s costumes, women in aprons and men in country work clothes, easily remind that the plot takes place in the countryside.
Bellini’s work gives a new opportunity to hear his vocal prowess and the gasp (admiration) of the Madrid public. Tonight, the troubled soprano Nadine Sierra is replaced by her colleague Jessica Pratt, with whom she has shared thirteen performances. So even though she’s performing two nights of a particularly challenging role, the Australian soprano displays a stamina that’s as impressive as her vocal prowess. If he does not spare himself at first, it is to show his delicacy, his delicate intentions and pleasant expressions, and then the flexibility of his impressive voices. Perched over the gap at the edge of the house, his long and intense prayer can only move the audience. They then express their recognition with relatively long applause and, above all, a secret tear. The soft roundness of his tone feeds the tender and balanced offerings between restraint and intensity, which is just beyond the interpretation of tenor Xavier Anduaga, who embodies Elvino. Their duet is clearly not ordinary (Jessica Pratt has a normal relationship with tenor Francesco Demuro), but gradually asserts itself until it receives an enthusiastic reception from the public.
Xabier Anduaga is always very invested, more comfortable vocally than on stage. Heroic and with a very present voice with a bright timbre, his transparent text is carried out with perfect fluid expression. If the orchestral accompaniment tends to fall away as it fades, his nuanced intentions convey this deep pain of his heart moving with mournful fury. An interpretation so convincing that it creates a smile that does not stop the public from cheering and cheering. brave until the artist salutes in front of the curtain.
The second donna to embody the character of Liza is soprano Rocio Pérez, who also manages to seduce with her brilliant timbre, impressive highs, ease and flexibility, as well as her present lows. Count Rodolfo benefits from Italian bass Roberto Tagliavini’s confident, charming, deliciously deep and rounded voice. Its lower parts are sometimes made without difficulty, but they remain surprising. Amina’s mother, the elderly Teresa, is played by the mezzo-soprano Monica Bacelli, pleasingly, with a clear timbre and measured vibrato to portray an old lady’s voice, but full of confidence and character. . Baritone Isaac Galan interprets Lisa’s poor lover Alessio with his warm and round voice, wanting to hear more. Notary by Gerardo López is less worthy with its present and clear tone.
Teatro Real’s Title Chorus by Andrés Máspero is precise, nuanced and energetic. However, its homogeneity is disturbed when it has to move, but shows no defects when it is static (which is the case in most cases). The extremely attentive and precise House Orchestra under the direction of Maurizio Beni accompanies the smallest intentions of the singers with great care. Solo instrumentalists also show great sensitivity in their interventions according to the suggestions of the stage they are responding to.
The gloriously joyful ending suddenly cuts to Amina leaping into the void or about to leap as darkness falls, seemingly turning from fear to a cry of exultation. If two or three boos are drowned out during the director’s welcome, the cheers are unanimous and warmest for Jessica Pratt and Xabier Anduaga.