Columnist space

James Imam






Chroniqueur depuis le 03 October 2018

Toutes ses chroniques .7

An operatic wordsmith: Luca Salsi's excellent La Scala recital

James Imam

Luca Salsi has a special way with words. His Macbeth sends shivers down the spine; his noble Giorgio Germonts fills you with warmth. Such portrayals works so well because Salsi can craft colour, nuance and meaning into a line like few others today. How fitting, then, that Salsi should provide a La Scala recital programme that read like a homage to Italian verse. In doing so, Salsi confirmed himself the foremost wordsmith of the opera world. On the world’s largest opera stages...

Plácido Domingo and Angel Blue brighten up Liliana Cavani's ti...

James Imam

Liliana Cavani's tired and uninspired 1990 production of La traviata apparently has enduring appeal. Ten shows into a 12-evening run, the theatre was heaving with audience members, a large proportion of them international. Perhaps tourists come to Milan expecting this sort of dependably traditional operatic fare. But there was, on this occasion, another reason to catch the show. In opting for multiple casts to sustain this long run La Scala had not skimped on quality: the...

Marianne Crebassa brings the house down in Jean-Pierre Ponnell...

James Imam

Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's legendary Milan production of La Cenerentola would be hard to replace. Since being unveiled at La Scala in 1973 it has enchanted local audiences time and again, and attempts to decommission such a joyous take on Rossini's work would, you feel, prompt strong resistance from the La Scala faithful. Especially as long as such interesting casts continue to be sourced. Marianne Crebassa, La Cenerentola (c) La Scala 2019 Ph. Marco Brescia & Rudy...

Ildar Abdrazakov's recital conquers La Scala

James Imam

The bass Ildar Abdrazakov has it all: the sumptuous voice, the rock solid technique, refined musicality and a gift for story telling with which he brings music and text to life. But that Abdrazakov has talent is hardly news in Milan -- the bass has regularly featured in opera productions here for nearly two decades. Instead, the big revelation from this La Scala recital was just how versatile he is. In Milan, Abdrazakov has always been most readily associated with Verdi. He has...

Patrice Chéreau's devastating Elektra returns to La Scala

James Imam

The sense of expectation that surrounded the return of Patrice Chéreau's production of Elektra to La Scala is testament to the artistry of the French director, arguably the greatest the nation has produced in the postwar period. Time and again, Chéreau's conceptions bore to the heart of the drama, and through an often startling simplicity of directorial means. The director's Elektra, his last production, opened in Aix in 2013 before travelling to La Scala....

Wake-Walker's La finta giardiniera travels to La Scala

James Imam

It takes a special production to ensure listeners do not get helplessly lost in the messy operatic overgrowth of La finta giardinieria. Written by Mozart at the age of 18, the score possesses little of the trailblazing innovation that would characterise his mature operas. Conventional arias are joined together with tiresome stretches of recitative, in a dreary musical terrain that only occasionally lights up to flashes of musical genius. The story centres on Sandrina, a noblewoman...