<< -- 3 -- David Wilkins BIZARRELY STIRRING
Radoslaw Zukowski's Baron Scarpia took the vocal laurels. His is
a big-bad-bear of a voice -- capable of a menace akin to Samuel Ramey's.
A bit of a shame, therefore, that the production reduced his attempted seduction
to a chase around the furniture more appropriate to a Benny Hill Show. No
doubt, though, that he was a nasty piece of work and got his just rewards.
The orchestra, passionately conducted by Tomasz Szreder, might not have
impressed the claque at La Scala overmuch but they made-up in enthusiasm
for what they lacked in finesse.
It's a bizarrely stirring work for all the banality of its rickety
melodrama, and performances as level-headed and honest as this are to be
cherished. All power (and much hard-currency) to the elbow of the Wroclaw
Opera. We need them at least as much as they need us. I'm still torn,
though, between buying a protective hound and calling him Alberich or a
softy to christen Mimi. Or maybe you just can't win -- and Fido will
have to do!
Copyright © 3 December 2000
David Wilkins, Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK
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