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Schaunard and Colline are roles in which, in a sense, you can't go wrong. Not just Boris Materinco's bluff, amiable, shambling Schaunard, but Valeriu Cojocaru's more shyly considerate Colline, in Act II as well as his beautifully diversionary Act IV aria, seemed to strike just the right note. The costumes, right down to the different scarves (which take on a colourful irony with the arrival of Musetta), were apt. The clowning with Viorel Szgardan's Benoit (the unpaid landlord) seemed the one bit of fusty datedness in Eugen Platon's long-tested production (a bit which could, incidentally, easily be revamped by a director, or probably even by the singers themselves) compared with a brilliant vignette in the recent Wroclaw State Opera staging (for a Chisinau equivalent one thinks back to Nicolae Covaliov's energising vignette as Barbarina's rubicund horticultural father, Antonio, in The Marriage of Figaro); nor, it has to be said (solo front desk apart), are the Chisinau strings as consistently up to scratch as that orchestra's (though the Moldovan woodwind is top-notch and the brass often equally so). Szgardan made a much better (and subtler) Alcindoro, Musetta's hapless diplomat sugardaddy, in the Café Momus scene.

Nicolae Covaliev as Antonio the gardener in the Chisinau National Opera production of Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro'


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Copyright © 15 February 2001 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK




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