Life in the old tiger
In the second of two articles
about the Chisinau National Opera,
Moldovan tenor Mihai Muntean
talks to RODERIC DUNNETT
<< Read the feature from the beginning
One head start Romanian-speaking Moldovan singers, like their Romanian
counterparts, have is an affinity for the (similarly Latin-based) Italian
language. In Chisinau, the capital (the former USSR city of Kishinev) Italian
repertoire -- Verdi, Bellini, Puccini -- still takes pride of place. A new
Macbeth is in the offing. For a country keen to distance itself from
a Soviet past in which even La Bohème was sung in Russian,
the word opera almost invariably means Italian.
Currently the Chisinau National Opera keep just two Russian operas in
repertory (Tchaikovsky's Yevgeny Onegin and The Queen of
Spades), preferring, as their General Manager, the fluent Russian-speaking
Mihai Cocieru explains, to leave Russian repertoire to Moscow, St Petersburg
and Kiev, and, to Chisinau's neighbouring city, Crimean Odessa.
Mihai Muntean in 'Un Ballo in Maschera' for Constanta Opera, Romania. Photo © Dumitru Ardea
But there is occasional novelty in the Chisinau repertoire : on the ballet
side, for instance, a brand new work (Casanova) employing a mixture
of music by Gubaidulina, Schnittke and others, may shortly break the mould.
Even Romanian opera gets relatively short shrift (Enescu's Oedipe
is, surprisingly, not a staple); but a fine historical opera, Alexandru
Lapusneanu, by Moldovan conductor Gheorghe Mustea, with more than a
hint of Impressionist and early 20th century influences, made an impression
at its première and hovers in the wings, though is (mistakenly) not
much revived or toured.
The 2001 Chisinau National Opera production of Bizet's 'Carmen'
Copyright © 6 October 2002
Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK