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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