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GERALD FENECH enjoyed the revival of a forgotten Haydn opera


Malta's Manoel Theatre was centre stage on Thursday and Friday 23 & 24 March 2001 with the inaugural night of the BOV Opera Festival dedicated to the revival of Haydn's forgotten opera, Le Pescatrici. An all-Hungarian cast was accompanied by pianist Kalman Szennai, with musical and artistic direction by Andras Feher, and set design by the well-known Maltese architect Richard England. The piano more than compensated for the absence of an orchestra, as Haydn's role for the band is solely supportive.

There is not much to choose between Haydn's operas for plots. Le Pescatrici is the usual story revolving around a long-lost love, this time set in a fishing village in Taranto. Katalin Gemes was exuberant and radiant as Eurilda, the long-lost daughter of a slain king, whilst Lindoro, the main character in Goldoni's play, was sung by Laszlo Svetek, a swarthy strong-voiced exponent of the role. I greatly enjoyed the comic roles of Lesbina and Nerina, both acted and sung with aplomb by Marta Fers and Cecilia Peter respectively. Viktor Massanyi was quite hilarious as Mastricco, the jester of the opera, whilst the fishermen's roles were played by Timothy Bentch and Tomas Cerny.

Manoel patrons complained somewhat about the costume design, which was nothing other than a casual 'off-the-shelf' display. Those of us who are used to England's cubistic set design smiled, but others may have thought that the opera deserved a slightly more period background. Otherwise, and although the opera played to half-full houses, Le Pescatrici was well received and certainly deserves a return to the repertoire.

Copyright © 9 April 2001 Gerald Fenech, Gzira, Malta




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