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Girl’s lib – parterre field

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Lodovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso stands as a towering masterpiece of Italian literature, with its tapestry of fantastical characters and its rollicking medieval universe inspiring a breadth of later works in literature, visible artwork, and music. One in every of this sensuous epic poem’s central narratives depicts the liberation of the Saracen knight Ruggiero from the sorceress Alcina’s enchanted island—a dramatic topic that captivated composers of opera like Georg Frideric Händel, Riccardo Broschi, and Francesca Caccini.

Caccini’s La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina (1625), believed to be the primary opera composed by a lady, presents this aspect of Ariosto’s romance as an influence play between the virtuous Melissa and the seductress Alcina as they battle for Ruggiero’s soul. The opera’s forward-looking emphasis on female company may be credited to the Archduchess Maria Maddalena of the Medici court docket, whose patronage supported Caccini’s items for composing dramas round empowered feminine protagonists.

Lately, Caccini’s sole surviving opera made its long-awaited Spanish debut by a collaboration between the Teatro Actual and the Teatros del Canal. Eschewing the opulence attribute of baroque theater, Madrid’s new manufacturing—conceived by choreographer Blanca Li in tandem with lighting director Pascal Laajili and costume designer Juana Martín—deftly built-in character course with a minimalist backdrop of flowing materials, placing illuminations, and evocative costumes. Complemented by expressive dance sequences, these components coalesced to underscore the fashionable sensibilities of Caccini’s highly effective sorceresses. Blanca Li’s dancers performed an indispensable function in animating the fantastical realm of Alcina’s enchanted island, their actions respiratory life into the magical creatures and reflecting the ever-shifting moods of the supernatural beings that inhabited this realm, remodeling the stage right into a vivid tapestry of symbols and puppetry.

Whereas Caccini’s rating might lack the dramatic pathos or the musical ingenuity of Händel’s famend masterpiece, its brisk one-and-a-half-hour runtime provides lilting leisure and, extra importantly, a window into a novel historic second for ladies in music.

Francesca Caccini’s balletto in musica embraces the recitative-driven varieties developed by Claudio Monteverdi and Jacopo Peri throughout opera’s nascency. Whereas a lot of the rating’s ritornelli and balleti are fantastically orchestrated, Caccini’s vocal writing oftentimes settles into the realm of the unmemorable and stylistically homogeneous. Throughout moments of inspiration, Melissa and Alcina can dominate the stage with stretches of expressive music, however seldom do the melodic variation or the textual content transcend mere superficiality. Absent are the elegant heights and cathartic depths that suffuse the nice moments of Monteverdi’s Poppea. Nor does this Alcina rend audiences with the gravitas of her Handelian counterpart when her powers in the end crumble.

Nonetheless, a piece that skimps on profundity needn’t be devoid of leisure worth, and Madrid’s charismatic soloists and musicians greater than capably ship on this entrance. Within the pit, the Asturian conductor Aarón Zapico, main his wonderful interval ensemble Forma Antiqva alongside gamers from the Teatro Actual, carried out Caccini’s orchestration with a dancelike vibrancy and exacted beautiful mixing from his pit and onstage musicians. Zapico and his soloists persistently demonstrated command over the composer’s stylistic ethos by accompaniments which might be exquisitely timed to the libretto’s brisk patter, evincing a cohesion that belies the 17th century rating’s lack of markings and structural formalities. Zapico’s brothers Pablo (lute) and Daniel (theorbo) and the winds of the Teatro Actual’s orchestra deserve particular point out for punctuating and enlivening the rating with taste and selection.

Among the many foremost solid, Vivica Genaux exudes creativeness and heroism because the benevolent sorceress Melissa, together with her smoky instrument and placing stage presence lending credibility to her function because the narrative’s ethical power. If Caccini painted her idealization of Alcina as a whimsical character simply performed for caricature, the Spanish mezzo soprano Lidia Vinyes-Curtis nonetheless evolves an enchanting portrayal that dwells on the character’s obsessive attachment to Ruggiero regardless of her writing’s dearth of eros. When Vinyes-Curtis takes middle stage for her climactic mad scene, the mezzo’s dedication to an strategy that intersperses formal operatic singing with uncooked, direct vocalizations proves particularly efficient. Lastly, though Ruggiero’s half is minor relative to the opera’s sopranos, the Spanish tenor Alberto Robert deserves plaudits for the wonder and ease with which his lyric tenor evenly scales his vocal traces.

Blanca Li’s darkish and minimalist manufacturing, with its even handed use of material and vibrant floating phantasmagorias, might not overtly evoke the fantastical symbolism or the visible sumptuousness of Alcina’s enchanted island. Nonetheless, Li’s understated idea masterfully directs the viewers’s gaze towards the electrifying energy play between Genaux and Vinyes-Curtis, as they vie for the entranced Ruggiero’s allegiance. Whereas Caccini’s work would possibly lack overt pathos or sharp focus, the musicians’ and singers’ unwavering dedication to imbuing theatricality and buoyancy into this affair elevates it to a cultural occasion of profound significance, resonating with modern themes of female energy and resilience.

Pictures: Pablo Lorente

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