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Posts Tagged ‘Valentina Farcas’

The Teatro Municipal’s music director Jan Latham-König has conducted many a Wagner and Strauss opera in Santiago – and trusting him Die Zauberflöte seemed to be a choice for heavy Mozart playing, as in the days in which Harnoncourt was just a baby. That preconceived notion was soon dispelled in the first bars of the overture: Latham-König’s Mozart not only is structurally crystalline but also dramatically and coherently conceived. His eye for detail and his care with clear pheasing are praiseworthy, and the orchestra’s dry string playing and the occasionally blunder in the brass section could easily be overlooked. Michael Hampe’s understated production verged on the artless and one could easily think of budget limitation, but in the end the show’s old-fashioned charm found a convincing note. Some moments really gave me the feeling of watching a production sprung from a black and white picture from the 30’s – and I only hope this was intentional!

Conductor and director had an animated cast to work with. I confess I was not really excited to read that Valentina Farcas was taking the role of Pamina. My previous experience with this singer was Salzburg’s video of Die Entführung der Serail, in which she is an extremely metallic-toned Blondchen. Live her soprano is far warmer, if diminute and lacking roundness in the higher reaches. Despite those drawbacks, she produced a most sensitive Ach, ich fühl’s. From this aria on, she showed her strengths in floating pianissimi and an impressively long breath. As the Königin der Nacht, Canadian soprano Aline Kutan resisted the temptation of making it pretty and produced forceful intense accounts of her arias. Her in alts are certainly impressive and her fioriture are really accurate. French tenor Xavier Mas has an extraordinarily velvety voice and a caressing line, but his whole method is too heavy for such a lyric instrument. Because of that, his ascents above high f were invariably tense. Maybe if he could relax and adopt a higher and more natural placement, he would achieve optimal results. It was good to see again Rodion Pogossov’s beautifully sung Papageno. He has indeed a most likeable stage persona – and witnessing him out of Julie Taymor’s Met Zauberflöte is an evidence that a less intrusive production is always healthy. Kristinn Sigmundsson was in excellent voice as Sarastro, dealing with the role’s problematic tessitura without any difficulty and singing his lines with true feeling for Mozartian style. The Teatro Municipal has some good talents at its disposal – the three ladies were excellent, especially Evelyn Ramírez’s Third Lady. Her strong contralto is a true find. Jenny Muñoz’s bell-toned Papagena was certainly refreshing and Gonzalo Araya was a firm-toned Monostatos.

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