* Notes *
Opernhaus Zürich held a performance of Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci Wednesday night. Grischa Asagaroff's production was straightforward, the set simple, the costumes very cute. The orchestra sounded lovely under Stefano Ranzani, fluid and clear.
Cavalleria rusticana featured Beatrice Uria-Monzon (Santuzza) and José Cura (Turiddu). Uria-Monzon embodied her role, the anguish in her voice was palpable. Cura sang with strength, his reedy voice was easy on the ear. The rest of the cast supported them well. Cheyne Davidson did have some timing problems as Alfio, particularly in his first vocal entrance. Katharina Peetz was alluring as Lola and Cornelia Kallisch maternal as Mama Lucia. The latter had a poignant scene with Cura near the end of the opera.
The female lead of Pagliacci, Fiorenza Cedolins, was less exciting. Her singing was not bad, perhaps it is simply more difficult to sympathize with the character of Nedda. Cura sang Canio compellingly, his voice sounded secure, his high notes without strain or compression. Carlo Guelfi was persuasive in the Prologue and threatening as Tonio. The supporting cast here was likewise fine, including Boiko Zvetanov (Peppe) and Gabriel Bermudez (Silvio). The orchestra continued to play with spirit, and cello soli were particularly beautiful.
* Tattling *
There was much whispering in the boxes. A man tapping out the rhythm during Pagliacci, but he was silenced with a stern glance. The maestro tried to stop the ovation after Cavalleria rusticana's intermezzo by dismissively waving his hands.