La forza del destino – Verdi – Royal Opera House
The starry eyed opening of Christof Loy’s new production of Verdi’s La forza del destino was triumphant with the world’s greatest singers in the title roles - Anna Netrebko as Leonora, Jonas Kaufman as Don Alvaro and Ludovic Tezier as Don Carlo. This was casting as good as it gets and a really exciting evening was enjoyed by all that were present.
However, there was a second cast with Liudmyla Monastyrska as the Leonora, Yusif Eyvasov as Alvaro and Christopher Maltman as Don Carlo and if the starry eyed opening had not happened then this second cast would have equally allowed the audience to enjoy an outstanding evening of opera.
Monastyrska has a huge voice that manages the delicacy of the soft passages well and provides plenty of excitement. She is well matched by Alvaro, sung by the Azerbaijan dramatic tenor, Yusif Eyvasov, who is also Netrebko’s husband. His warm weighty voice has substantial reach in the higher register and is an exciting instrument to hear.
He was also well matched by the wonderful British baritone, Christopher Maltman, whose rich elegant voice has propelled him to the highest level of his profession. Ferruccio Furlanetto was a great deep seated Padre and Alessandro Corbelli was a luxury comedy casting as Melitone.
However, the show was almost stolen by the Preziosilla of the Russian mezzo soprano Aigul Akhmetshina, who is a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists. Her red outfit was stunning and she executed her dance numbers and sang her heart out throughout. She hasn’t the biggest of voices, but it is a wonderful instrument that will only grow as her career blossoms.
The Conductor, Antonio Pappano, and the orchestra and chorus were all on top form.
The slight disappointment was the Loy production – first seen in Amsterdam in 2017 – with what was in effect a one piece set by Christian Schmidt. Whilst the set was functional, it never really differentiated sufficiently between the Acts. This was particularly relevant at the end, which should have seen Leonora living – and eventually dying – in a cave in the mountains. However, in Loy’s production the action took place in the living room of the family’s main home – surely Loy could have done better!
A small grumble in a high quality musical evening from one of Verdi’s greatest operas.