As befits a production which will journey to San Francisco and Vienna, David McVicar's new Adriana Lecouvreur is as conservative as David Cameron holding hands with Boris Johnson in a Margaret Thatcher t-shirt. The stage-within-a-stage set is revolutionary only in the sense that it turns round, though I suppose some might regard that as innovation. Deprived by the pesky libretto of the opportunity to slip in one of his customary orgies, McVicar's only remotely adult tableau consists of a few actresses in eighteenth century underthings. Instead he gets down to the business of telling the story with minimal fannying around.
But of course the motor behind the resuscitation of this rarity is Angela Gheorghiu. The production has clearly been designed around her whims and abilities, and it's hard to view it as much more than a frame for her portrayal. She made a good start at today's dress rehearsal by actually turning up. Even if she cancels the whole run (still a possibility going on past form) I can at least say I've seen her Adriana.
While the rest of the cast sport period costume, Gheorghiu parades a dessert wagon of frothy frocks, seemingly designed by a five year old girl who weally weally wants to be a pwincess. Her diamonds (essential to the plot) are spectacular - could they be real? She sang beautifully, and her acting went way beyond her usual impersonation of herself. Maybe she can't float those top notes quite the way she used to, but in many ways this is shaping up to be the best thing she's ever done. So let's cross fingers she makes it to opening night.
There was something odd going on with Jonas Kaufmann at the curtain call. He exchanged words with Angela, looking angry and upset. I'm at a loss to understand what the problem, if any, was. He's at the absolute peak of his vocal abilities, and though he (perfectly permissibly) marked the odd line, he seemed at ease with the singing and the role - and with Angela. Perhaps he was just apologising for treading on her bunion, who knows.
As for the rest, I'll wait till opening night (in a couple of days) to offer a judgement.
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