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Original but Controversial

'Sicilian Vespers' as conceived by Verdi,


Even at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, Les Vêpres Siciliennes is normally presented in Italian, also when the (nearly) full five act original version with a long third act ballet is on stage. In Italy, only the Teatro dell'Opera of Rome produced the full unabridged version in French: it was way back in 1997 with a good cast (John Nelson in the pit, Dessì, Kuelber, Coni and Furlanetto as protagonists), a decent staging (even though the time of the plot was updated from 1282 to around 1850) and a top-class ballet (with Alessandra Ferri and Maximiliano Guerra as stars). The experience has not been repeated until 15 May 2011 for several reasons: too long an opera (the whole evening lasts five hours), and too expensive a production. The recently fully refurbished Teatro San Carlo of Naples, back in its full splendor, organized a glittering new production of the full unabridged opera in French with the ballet and a top class cast (Gianluigi Gelmetti in the pit, Dario Solari, Gregory Kunde, Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Orlin Anastassov as protagonists), the stage direction of Nicolas Joel, the stage sets of Ezio Frigerio, the costumes of Franca Squarciapino and the choreography of Amedeo Amodio. No doubt a colossal production, similar to those that enthralled the Imperial Opera House in Paris when Verdi, for a fabulous fee, signed the contract that led to Les Vêpres Siciliennes...

Copyright © 21 May 2011 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy





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