Un Ballo in Maschera and Tosca_11.07.2009

......This was my third day in a row at ROH. This is still sort of unbelivable for me.
For today there is Un Ballo in Maschera in the morning and the second Tosca in the evening.
......First, Un Ballo. I only knew one aria and the end of act one. Ramon Vargas was the best. it's the first time I see him live on stage. He makes a very good impression. Can't say the same about the other two. Even if Dalibor Janis is a strong presence on stage, he got into the part only towards the end. Again, this is my opinion, as everything else on this blog.

......Anna Christy was a very nice surprise, in the part of Oscar. And I enjoyed every minute of the opera. This time I had a different seat. Well, not exactely a seat. It was a standing place. 7 pounds. Lower slips right. Very good view of the stage. But if you go more to the right, then it's restricted view.

......I googled a little bit the cast. Manistina and Marambio were involved in Singer of the World in Cardiff.

The cast
Samuel: Giovanni Battista Parodi
Tom: Vuyani Mlinde
Oscar: Anna Christy
Riccardo: Ramón Vargas
Renato: Dalibor Jenis
Judge: Martyn Hill
Ulrica: Elena Manistina
Silvano: Changhan Lim
Amelia: Angela Marambio
Amelia's servant: Neil Gillespie
The Royal Opera. Conductor: Maurizio Benini.

Pictures taken from the lower slips right.

Dalibor Janis

Ramon Vargas

Ramon Vargas and Anna Christy

Backstage with Mr Vargas

......This was a very pleasat afternoon. I'll see Ramon Vargas again very soon. Luisa Miller, in Munich.


......And now we get to the last evening of my trip to London. Tosca, on July 11th. The cast was the same as on July 9th with the exception of the soprano. This evening everybody was waiting to see Nelly Miricioiu. Rumours said that hers should be a different approach on Tosca. And it was. I don't want to make any comparisons as the other one involved Angela. I took it as it was. For this evening I had a different seat. Amphiteatre A28 (thanks Rhodri). It's one of the best cheap seats there. Because you're the first one in the row and can lean as much as you like without disturbing anybody. Perfect view of the stage, as you'll see in the pictures.
......Bryn Terfel and Marcello Giordani were very, very good. Bryn was the true vilain. Va Tosca was perfect. That mixture of madness, sorrow, love for God and Tosca, everything was there in those 4 minutes. There was electricity. I was almost afraid of him. I wanted to tell him that. But by the time we got backstage he had already left. Again he proved to be in best shape during the second act. No orchestra in the world could have covered that voice.

......Marcello Giordani has a powerful voice. I read on several blogs that he brought here his Met voice. Might be true. Think that Met can host about 4000 people. This can be overwhelming for some artists. Recondita Armonia and Luccevan were great. And there was also the moment when Napoleon's victory is announced, during the third act. And he says "victoria". Twice. Got goose bumps. I saw him before, he was Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly last season at Met. But never live (it was Met's broadcast in Spring). He made a good impression.

......Some words about Nelly Miricioiu. With all due respect, it was not exactly what it should have been. Some parts made me feel something but during some important moments the voice couldn't cover the music. Only the high notes could been heard. Analizing the opera as whole I noticed more concert about dress/movement on stage than comunication with the characters. But Bryn and Marcello knew what they have to do and this helped a lot. I was waiting for Vissi D'arte. It started well but ended... somehow ambigous. And the audience found the better way to say that they don't agree with it. Silance. Complete silance for a few seconds. Normally people burst into applauses before the aria ends. Darkness and silance are the worst things for artists. Eventually somebody started applauding and the others followed him/her. During the third act some lines were spoken. I don't remember hearing that in Tosca. Everybody sings. But maybe it was just an impression....

......But then again, opera is subjective. Better said, the perception of opera is subjective. I love listening/seeing somebody in particular (I guess it's obvious who that person is). Somebody else likes a different artist. it's not about how he/she sings. it's more about what we feel when listening.

Covent Garden Market by night, seen from the terrase of ROH

Paul Hamlyn Hall, inside ROH

View of the stage from the Amphiteatre, A28.

Marcello Giordani
Bryn Terfel
Nelly Miricioiu

......With this Tosca my trip to London ended :(. I'm so sorry. But I'll get back. It was beautiful and intense. Thanks to G for everything. It's so nice to have somebody to talk to after such shows!

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  1. Love the pictures of the opera house and the curtain calls...have not read any reviews yet of Nelly M's performance but there was much anticipation in the press beforehand about her appearence after a number of years away from this role and the Royal opera house.

  2. Nothing, indeed. I tried to find something but maybe I haven't sought on the right web sites.

  3. I found one outstanding review of Nelly on Musicalcriticism website.

    I totally disagree with the negative comments on your blog...I thought Nelly's Tosca was intelligent, subtle and performed with real integrity. She observed the true markings of the score and was very different to the usual unsubtle heavy-voiced singers in this role. And I thought her acting was extraordinary.

    Each to his or her own...perhaps?

  4. Dear Sir,
    thank you for your comment. You are right in what you say and think. Opera involves a lot of subjectivity. I don't want to offend anyone. It's not my purpose. I simply enjoy music as it is. As I alwyas say in my comments, these are my own opinions. If I don't like something this doesn't mean that somebody else can't have a different opinion. On the contrary. I expected a lot from this performance. I travelled to london to see both ladies. i don't want my comments to be negative. I tried not to offend anyone.
    Mrs Miricioiu was great and she still is. I wish she came to Romania more often to sing for us.

  5. I saw you! I know it for sure! :)

    I'm from the Netherlands and I went on a holiday to London from sunday 5 to monday 13 July, and except for doing a lot of general touristy things I went to the ROH for the first time, and saw Traviata, Il barbiere, Un ballo and Tosca. I was a bit bummed when it turned out the Tosca I had bought tickets for didn't have Angela Gheorghiu (I have never been able to see her live), but Nelly (who performs in the Netherlands very, very often). Anyway, after the saturday evening Tosca, we went to the stage door, and when waiting for Nelly, I remember my sister and I were looking envious at two girls who had a big fat Angela autograph on their programmes!

    I have to agree that Nelly was a bit disappointing. Her first act was alright, her second act not so good (I remember the silence after Vissi d'Arte as well!), and I felt she only came into her own in the third act.

  6. Hi Laura!
    I remember you too. We were only a few people backstage after that Tosca. if you want to see Mrs Gheorghiu, it's better to choose the first performace she's in. All other performances are not very sure. Keep trying.
    I was in Munich for her concert. I'll post the pictures in a few days. Check back to see them.

  7. I just booked my visit to London this December and I'm searching for a good (or..the best) opera to get to. Is Tosca is fine or maybe i need to try another?