Columnist space

Xavier Pujol





Chroniqueur depuis le 20 April 2015

Toutes ses chroniques . 27

Andrea Chénier at the Liceu: A perfect night

Xavier Pujol

Opera is the most complex and interdisciplinary form of artistic expression created by Western culture, all scenic and musical arts are represented. In this state of affairs, in the same way that it is very difficult to totally ruin an operatic performance it is even a greater challenge to achieve absolute perfection. Nevertheless, this is – or almost is – what happened in the premiere of Andrea Chénier at Liceu, one of the foundational titles of the verismo movement...

Romeo and Juliet at the Liceu: One of those sad tepid successes

Xavier Pujol

The stage is a space where life – or its simulation – is presented in an intense, concentrated way, where emotions and feelings guide the characters and their actions. In theatre, especially in opera, and in general in all scenic arts, the aim is always to achieve something intense. Life is tepid, the stage is always hot. If one cannot achieve an extraordinary success one must at least achieve an extraordinary failure that grabs the attention. Anything but an anodyne,...

Gran Teatre del Liceu: That old dear Elisir

Xavier Pujol

At times, opera can also be the art of nostalgia and of longing, referring not just to the voices. Liceu has once again restaged in its scene its own production of L’elisir d’amore, one of the most successful productions of the theatre, which has toured around bringing dignity to Liceu’s name.  The staging is signed by Mario Gas as stage director, who started his relationship with this title over 30 years ago. That production was the grandmother of the one...

Once again, the brillant excess of Tristan

Xavier Pujol

Excessive in every material and conceptual aspect, hypertrophic, beyond the limits of anything reasonable, redundant in the text to desperation, with a minimal dramatic action that tests the ingenuity and patience of stage directors, with terrible vocal demands, inhumane for the protagonists. Exhausting for everyone, audience included, the Wagnerian Tristan und Isolde is in its overflow one of the most sublime and genius excesses created by Western culture. Once again we have been put...

An ugly, disoriented and only half well sung Ballo

Xavier Pujol

The overall result of the Un ballo in maschera’s opening at Liceu – presented as the official opening of the season, although the season had de facto already started last month with Il viaggio a Reims – is clear: the men and choir were good, less so the women, passable the conductor and orchestra, ugly and dark the production and very poor the stage direction. Let’s start with what went well. Carlos Álvarez is at the best moment of his career, already...

Il viaggio a Reims at the Liceu: A light and easy appetiser

Xavier Pujol

Liceu has resumed its activity with Il viaggio a Reims, an unusual title for a season opening. We need to consider however that these performances, despite being the first ones, do not have the ‘official’ opening character that will arrive at the beginning of October with Un ballo in maschera.  But why is Il viaggio a Reims not an appropriate title to open the season? Because, to start with, dramatically it isn’t a proper opera but rather a sort of scenic cantata...