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Stonehenge on Lake Geneva

Grand Théâtre de Genéve
09/07/1999 -  et 10, 13, 16*, 20, 23, 26 september 1999
Vincenzo Bellini: Norma
June Anderson (Norma), Inès Salaazar (Adalgisa), Sophie Pondjclis (Clotilde), Hugh Smith (Pollione), Andrea Silvestrelli (Oroveso), Christer Bladin (Flavio) Orchestre de la Suisse Romande , Grand Théâtre de Genève Choir, Marco Guidarini (conductor)

After last season's Lucia di Lammermoor, the Geneva Grand Theatre opened with the second great bel canto opera for great sopranos: Norma. June Anderson's vocalises were great but here voice was somewhat tired; she was announced as being slightly ill on the premiere. Her technique was perfect, but there was a lack of something in her interpretation that the Venezuelian, Inès Salazaar, had. She was more moving. As a result, she was bravoed a bit more than Norma at the premiere and on the 16th as well. By the way, Ignès Salazaar will be coming back as. Aida in December. The American tenor, winner of the Pavarotti prize in 1995, gave us a good performance with a timbre suiting his bel canto role perfectly, as well as Oroveso (Andrea Silvestrelli), an astonishing and unique voice, matching perfectly the shaggy chief of tribe he was playing.

Maestro Guidarini's direction and the orchestra in this opera play a lesser role than in many other bel canto opera's. The centre of attention is the voice. The Long melodies of the opera, that Wagner appreciated, accompany the spectator through the scenes. Only one or two stronger and military effects and then again subtle melodies coloured by the magnificent choir of Guillaume Tourniaire, the choir master of the Grand Théâtre.

It is in this decor of monolith's , somewhere in a Stonehenge, where shady colours recall us something of the Gallic scenery of last season's Lucia, that Norma appeared to us last night.

Zoltan Becsi



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