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Movies @ Gorey Cinema Blog

3D, 2D Movies, Culture-Live in Hd, Opera, Ballet & Theatre

Léirmheas Logan

Scannán foréigneach, eipiciúil, ach daonna é seo thar aon rud eile, cé go mbaineann sé leis na sárlaochra sóite atá aithne mhaith ag mórchuid leantóirí X-men orthu. Neamhchosúil leis an chuid is mó scannáin X-men a tháinig roimhe, áfach, bhí Logan stiúrtha ar nós scannán Western clasaiceach – agus déantar tagairt díreach orthu siúd nuair a bhíonn na príomhcharachtair ag féachaint ar radharc Unforgiven, ag Clint Eastwood, i seomra óstáin. Ní chuirtear mórán béime ar chuimsiú sóisialta na “ndaoine difriúla” sa scannán seo toisc go bhfuil sé dírithe níos mó ar theaghlach, misneach agus an coimhlint idir an mhaith agus an t-olc.

Tarlaíonn scéal an scannáin seo sa bhliain 2029, agus baineann sé leis an t-aon duine sóite atá fágtha – Logan, a dtugtar Wolverine air. Tosnaíonn sé le radharc ina bhfeictear a chró fólaigh agus cuid dá shaol mar thiománaí meánaosta atá dobrónach, gan aird sa saol. Níl comhluadar aige ach Caliban agus Professor X, atá taomanna air chomh cumhachtach lena hinchinn neamhghnách. Nuair a bhualann Logan le cailín sóite a bhí faoi chúram bhanaltra Meicsiceach, áfach, faigheann sé cuspóir nua lena shaol – ach ní gan dúshláin a thagann an deis “tuistithe” sin: tá namhad sa tóir uirthi agus ar pháistí eile atá cumhacht osnádúrtha orthu. An eireoidh le Wolverine iad a chosaint?

Briseann Logan cliché a bhaineann le páistí san earnáil scannánaíochta: in áit daoine óga gleoite sobhriste, feictear sárlaochra atá ábalta tiomáint, foirgnimh a thógáil, agus nach bhfuil eagla orthu namhaid a mharú – ach is páistí iad fós, agus is féidir é sin a aithint anois is arís, go háirithe nuair a bhíonn Laura (páiste Logan) ag súgradh.

Is greannmhar na himeartais focail le cúrsaí reatha Mheiriceá sa scannán seo: úsáidtear “fake news” nuair a dúirt Laura gur féidir teacht ar Eden na ndaoine sóite i Meiriceá, agus ní chreideann Logan ar an scéal. Chomh maith leis, Donald is ainm leis an namhad nua atá ag na X-men. Is cosúil gur faisean nua atá ann do na scannáin sárlaochra amach anseo.

Logan by Natalia Ui Fhailain

5/5Logan

Léirmheas Beauty And The Beast

 

Scannán beo-aicsin é so ar an mbeochan Beauty and the Beast (1991), a dhein Disney mar athinsint ar an bhfinscéal dárb ainm céanna. Is léir an ceangail idir an dá scannán, ó thaobh íomhá na gcarachtair, fuaimrian, agus dár ndóigh an chríoch shona. Scéal rómánsach ceolmhar é so a chuirfeadh ag taisteal ar ais in am thú le huaigneas… nó, más páiste thú sa lá atá inniu ann, is cinnte go gcuirfeadh sé gliondar i do chroí.

An chéad rud a thugtar fé ndeara sa scannán so ná: cé chomh díograsach is a bhí an stiúrthóir ag athchruthú radharcanna – agus ceol – na beochana 1991 ionas go mbeadh siad chomh dílis agus is féidir leis an chéad scannán. Go deimhin, is do-dhéanta gan cuimhniú siar ar scéal Belle agus a gúna gorm simplí, ag canadh timpeall an bhaile bídeach ina bhfuil cónaí uirthi, fé cé chomh bréan is atá sí de “shaol tuaithe”. Níl aon athrú sa bplota, rud a bhí déanta d’aon ghnó leis an gcuspóir sin thuasluaite. Tagann Belle ar chaisleán an ainmhí agus í ar thóir ar a hathair trasna na foraoise, agus glacann an ainmhí léi mar phríosúnaí ina áit. Le himeacht na haimsire, áfach, faigheann sí amach gur prionsa fé dhraíocht é an ainmhí i ndáiríre, ach ní bhrisfear an draíocht mura bhfuil sé in ann teacht ar fíor-ghrá.

Cé go bhfuil radharcanna áirithe sa scannán so iontach taitneamhach – mar shampla, an t-amhrán Be Our Guest, ina chuireann troscáin an chaisleáin dinnéar ar fáil do Belle agus déantar ceolchoirm mór millteach as an ócáid – is annamh go bhfuil an aird ar fad ar an príomhcharachtar sna radharcanna san. Ní mhothaítear an draíocht céanna nuair atá Belle lárnach sa scáileán, fiú i radharc an chéad rince leis an aimhí! Só d’aineoinn an t-atmaisféar taitneamhach cruthaithe ag na héifeachtaí speisialta, an ceol, agus na carachtair eile timpeall uirthi – gach rud beagnach foirfe – níl drámaíocht Emma Watson thar moladh beirte mar Belle. Tá díomá léirithe ag an-chuid leantóirí lena cuid drámaíocht leadránach le déanaí, agus anuas air sin, deirtear go bhfuil simpliú iomarcach déanta ar a gúna buí íocónach. Bhí sé i bhfad níos galánta sa mbeochan 1991 go deimhin!

Ar an taobh eile den scéal, áfach, caifear aitheantas a thabhairt do Luke Evans, a dhéanann an namhad Gaston sa scannán. Ní fhéadfadh leis bheith níos foirfe don ról sin, agus is ar éigean a chreidtear go bhfuil sé ina amadán naircisíoch i ndáiríre. Is fiú féachaint ar an scannán so mar gheall ar an gcarachtar san amháin!

by Natalia Ui Fhailain

4/5

Royal Opera: Madama Butterfly

Puccini’s “Madam Butterfly” from Covent Garden,

 Thurs, March 30th at 7.15pm at SGC Dungarvan by Jim Ryan

Booking now open – http://bit.ly/GoreyMadamaButterfly

                         Back in the dreary days of January, on a trip to Prague, I attended five operas, including a superbly sung “Madam Butterfly”, which was received with loud applause by an enthusiastic audience; as so often, they were moved by the fate of the ill-starred heroine. Puccini is one of the most popular of all opera composers and his operas are among the most performed worldwide every year. His ‘fans’ are in for a treat at the SGC, Dungarvan, with ‘Butterfly’ coming from the Covent Garden, one of the world’s greatest opera houses. Incidentally, followers of modern-day musicals will find a retelling of the opera in “Miss Saigon”. Of further interest to Irish Puccini-lovers is the fact that the composer himself in his assessment of singers of the heroine’s role, declared Mayo-born Margaret Burke-Sheridan (who died in 1958), to be “the only Butterfly”. Leontyne Price, Renate Tebaldi, Victoria de los Angeles and the great Callas have been among the greatest modern interpreters of this, one of the most coveted of all operatic roles.

‘Madam Butterfly’, Puccini’s 6th opera, was first performed on February, 17th, 1904, at La Scala, Milan. Despite having renowned principals (two all-time greats, tenor Giovanni Zenatello and the renowned baritone, Guiseppe de Luca – the latter’s ‘Traviata’ and ‘Rigoletto’ duet recordings with Amelita Galli-Curci are treasures), it was a failure; jeers and catcalls greeted much of its second act. Puccini withdrew it, revised it and only three months later, at Brescia on May 28th, it was greeted with approval and sustained applause. Soon it was an operatic smash hit and ever since it has remained one of the most performed of all operas. It was first performed at Covent Garden in 1905, with Caruso, Antonio Scotti and the peerless Czech soprano, Emmy Destinn – some said she has never had an equal as Butterfly (on a trip to Prague in January, I saw a statue of her in her native city).

My friend, Tommy O’Brien, of RTE Radio fame, was an ardent Puccini ‘fan’ and considered ‘Butterfly’ one of the greatest of all operas. I have written hitherto of how Tommy, playing recordings of the opera, often illustrated for me, at his home in Clonmel, the subtleties and beauties of the composer’s musical genius.

‘Butterfly’ was first performed at The Metropolitan Opera in New York, on Feb, 11th, 1907 – one of my favourite LPs has the recorded highlights of the Met’s first ‘Butterfly’ with Geraldine Farrar, Enrico Caruso, Antonio Scotti and Louise Homer – a cast for the ages! After hearing Caruso in the opera, a critic wrote: “What is he? He is not a singer. He is not a voice. He is a miracle”. Puccini wrote: “Caruso was magnificent, singing like a god”. The libretto is based on a play by David Belasco, which Puccini saw in The Duke of York Theatre, London, in June 1900. He realised the possibilities for an opera based on a clash of American and Japanese cultures.

The tragic tale concerns Cio San, the Japanese fifteen-year-old geisha girl known as Butterfly, who renounces family and religion to marry American naval lieutenant, Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton’. This faithless cad has no intention of making it a permanent marriage. The passionate duet in which they pledge their love, “Un Po di Vero C’e” is one of the most gorgeous duets in all opera. But, from then on it’s a moving story, with the ever-faithful girl being the loser. There’s some lovely music: there’s “One Fine Day”, one of the most loved of all soprano arias, and there’s the Flower Duet, just to mention but a few highlights.

‘Madame Butterfly’ is perennially among the top five in terms of performances annually. Any opera house manager who wants to make a few Euros need look no further than this opera. In the fifty years following its first performance at The ‘Met’ it was performed there an astonishing 360 times. It’s arguably the most popular opera ever composed and it will, no doubt, bring a big audience to The SGC, Dungarvan on March 30th.  (Jim Ryan)

 

Léirmheas Hidden Figures

Cuireadh fíorscéal i láthair ar bhealach taitneamhach sa scannán Hidden Figures, ach ní chiallaíonn sin gur rinneadh aon caint mhilis ar an taobh gránna den scéal – ciníochas. Dár ndóigh, pléitear fadhb na ciníochais go críochnúil ó thús go deireadh, agus is ar éigean gur féidir leis na lucht féachanna an t-idirdhealú sin a mhothú san atmaisféar agus trua a dhéanamh do na príomhcharachtair dá bharr. Caifear an cheist sin a thuiscint go hiomlán ionas nach mbeidh an t-idirdhealú sin riamh i bhfeidhm arís – agus rinneadh sár-jab sa scannán so leis.

Tá an scannán Hidden Figures lonnaithe sna Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá ag deireadh na 60aidí agus leiríonn sé saol Katherine G Johnson – páiste iontach sa mhatamaitic, a fuair scoláireacht mar gheall ar a scileanna neamhghnách leis na huimhreacha, agus post ar NASA mar “ríomhaire” mar thoradh air. Bean gorm a bhí inti, áfach, agus de réir is a fuair sí ardú céime san obair, d’éirigh an bhearna idir daoine gorma agus daoine geala níos soiléire níos damanta di. Cé is moite de sin, áfach, ní raibh a comhoibrithe geala ábalta ciníochas a thabhairt fé ndeara riamh seachas nuair a chuir sí é in iúil dóibh. Dár ndóigh, ba nós le mórchuid duine bheith dall don ciníochas a bhí taobh thiar de na dlithe Jim Crow i Meiriceá, agus d’éirigh leis an scannán é sin a thaispeáint gan stró. Ní fheictear mí-úsáid fisiciúil sa scannán, agus níl aon namhad sádach ann ag iarraidh daoine gorma a mharú nó aon rud mar sin. Ní fheictear troid ach oiread, toisc go bhfuil teachtaireacht i bhfad níos caolchúisí sa scannán – gan a bheith níos fánaí! S’éard a bhfeictear ann ná: gnáth-dhaoine ag déanamh talamh slán den pribhléid atá acu sa chóras oideachais agus san obair; gnáth-dhaoine ar nós mise agus tusa, ag maireachtáil i sochaí ina raibh rudaí ar nós “leithreas gorm” normálta – rud atá do-dhéanta sa lá atá inniu ann. Agus cuireann sé sin ag smaoineamh thú: is dócha go bhfuil rudaí i bhfeidhm inniu a bheas cuma ciníoch orthu sa todhchaí freisin – níl sé éasca pribhléid a thabhairt fé ndeara.

Cé go bhfuil béim ar scéal Katherine sa scannán, taispeántar beirt bhean gorm eile a bhí cairdiúil léi agus conas a d’éirigh leo a n-aislingí a thógáil i sochaí ciníoch. Ag tús an scannáin, bíonn Mary Jackson agus Katherine ag obair le chéile sa seomra na ríomhairí gorma faoi stiúir Dorothy Vaughan. Leanann siad proifisiúin éagsúla de réir a chéile áfach de réir is a théann an scéal ar aghaidh. Bíonn Mary ag aislingeacht le bheith ina hinealtóir cé go bhfuil constaic mór sa tslí uirthi: tá cúrsa in ollscoil “geal” ag teastáil uaithi chun a haidhm a bhaint amach. D’éirigh léi ar deireadh tar éis di óráid bheag a thabhairt os comhair breithimh agus é a chur ina luí air gurb é sin a dheis clú agus cáil a bhaint amach mar an chéad fear a bhris rialacha an idirdhealaithe san ollscoil sin.

I gcás an stiúrthóra ríomhaireachta Dorothy Vaughan, áfach, níor éirigh léi ciníochas a chur ina luí ar na daoine i gcumhacht chun an t-ardú céime a bhaint amach sa chomhlucht. Bhí uirthi scíl nua a fhoghlaim – leabhair fé cláreagrú a ghoid ó leabharlann “geal” (ós rud é nach raibh cead aici é a léamh ann mar gheall ar a cine) agus na ríomhairí uathoibríoch IBM a oibriú sula raibh seans ag éinne ar NASA an scíl a mhúineadh fiú. Ní raibh rogha ag na ceannairí geala ach í a fhostú mar chláreagraitheoir.

Dár ndóigh, léiríonn na scéalta sin an tábhacht a bhaineann le do dhícheall a dhéanamh agus gan éirí as – d’éirigh leis an triúir bhean sin cé go raibh an domhain ina gcoinne – ach thar aon rud eile, taispeántar sa scéal go bhfuair siad pionós ar rud éigin a bhí ó smacht acu. Ní raibh aon locht orthu gur rugadh siad gorm, ach fós féin, bhí orthu i bhfad níos mó oibre a chur isteach chun cothromaíocht a bhaint amach lena gcomhrádaí geala. Gan amhras, rinneadh áibhéal anso is ansúd – sa bhfíorshaol, ba nós le Katherine leithreas na ndaoine geala a úsáid ar aon nós, agus níor tharla an radharc sin ina gcuireann ceannasaí an chomhlucht deireadh le hidirdhealú leithris i ndáiríre – is drámaíocht sa bhreis é sin chun teachtaireacht beagáinín níos láidre a chur trasna. Ach ar iomlán, is fiúntach an mionchúntas ar shaol Katherine sa scannán. Baintear úsáid cliste as seanphictiúir sa scannán chun comparáid a dhéanamh idir na radharcanna athchruthaithe agus an domhain mar a bhí fadó. Cabhraíonn sé sin go mór ó thaobh na lucht féachanna a thumadh sa scéal, ar nós dá mbeadh gach éinne ag taistil in ama go dtí na 60aidí. Sárobair é an scannán so gan aon amhras.

By

Natalia Danzmann

Rating 5/5

Rings Review

Directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez and written by David Loucka Rings is the third instalment from the American franchise originally taken from the Japanese 1998 psychological horror movie Ringu. The first American remake was back in 2002 and certainly was one of the big horror movies of that year with people even refusing to have a TV in the bedroom after watching. Unfortunately the concept now seems a little dated at this stage and probably won’t have the same audience fear factor as before.  It definitely wouldn’t be a Rings movie without some classic VHS tapes and you won’t be disappointed as they do make a brief appearance before moving over to computer video files in an attempt to update the Rings franchise to the digital age.

This movie again follows the same concept as before except this time there is a Video within the video that nobody has noticed before. After a very disappointing open scene the plot opens up with the introduction of Holt and Julia, a college couple who are separated due to college commitments. They keep in contact via skype while apart until one day Holt just disappears without a trace. When Julia goes to her boyfriend’s college to try to find her him she meets up with his college science teacher Gabriel, played by Johnny Galecki who is of course Leonard Hofstadter in The Big Bang Theory. Gabriel had seen the famous video that causes the watcher to dies exactly 7 days after watching it.  After he started a club for people who had also seen it called “The Ring Experiment” they soon discover the video within the video that holds the key to stopping the 7 day curse.

Rings is not a hard movie to follow but definitely you need to pay attention to the plot or you might find yourself losing interest. There is a nice twist at the end which makes things interesting. Overall it’s not a bad movie.

Rating 5/10

By Bill Tubbritt

Jackie Review

Jackie Review

Most people young and old will understand the significant of the date November 22, 1963 in US history. It is of course the day that one of the most popular American Presidents of all time was assassinated in Dallas Texas. Directed by Pablo Larraín and written by Noah Oppenheim, Jackie recalls the events on that faithful day and the aftermath that followed, seen through the eyes of the iconic first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

The lead role in this movie is played by Natalie Portman who seems right at home in this part. Her portrayal of Jackie is flawless and much deserving of the many positive reviews and of course her best actress Oscar nomination which she is being hotly tipped as one of the front runners for the award. Also starring in Jackie was John Hurt in his last movie release before his passing in late January 2017.

The movie follows the life of the first lady at first in the White house leading up to the assignation of her husband. After her whole world is turned upside down Jackie quickly learns that her every move and decision is been scrutinized by everyone from the Public to journalists and even politicians. Jackie knows all her moves and actions in the immediate weeks following the assignation are most important. As she struggles to deal with her faith, children and the grief of such a tragic loss she also must consider the legacy of her husband which is very important to her.

The movie focuses on Theodore H. White’s Life magazine interview with the widow at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts in 1963 approximately one week after the assignation. The interview reveals a lot of graphic details about the events of that day which are shown in the movies courtesy of flash backs

Jackie is a fascinating watch with a lot of credit going to Portman for a very strong and convincing performance in what must have been a very difficult part to play due to a public obsession with both the woman herself and of course the truth of what really happened that day.

Rating 7/10

Bill Tubbritt

Léirmheas Ballerina

Scéal suimiúil saor ó na clichés, beochan inchreidte go leor agus carachtair gleoite atá pearsantacht chasta, daonna acu. S’éard atá i gceist leis an scannán Ballerina, atá cóiréagrafaíocht ag réaltaí an Opéra National de Paris ann.

Baineann plota an scannáin le scéal Felicie – cailín Briotánach a bhí i gcónaí ag aislingeacht le bheith ina bailéiríne go dtí go bhfuair sí seans amháin lena haislingí a fhíorú i dturas rúnda go Páras. Ní “laoch tipiciúil” í ar an scéal toisc go mbíonn sí dána anois is arís ar nós fíor-pháiste. Níos tábhachtaí fiú, cé gur scéal na n-óg é an scannán so, ní finscéal atá ann, agus dá bharr taispeántar air gur do-dhéanta an rud é teacht ar dhuine atá go hiomlán maith nó go hiomlán olc. Go deimhin, ní bhfuair sí deis freastal ar an scoil bailé i bPáras go dleathach – do ghoid sí aitheantas chailín eile, agus fuair sí pionós cuí dá bharr. Ní hea nár éirigh léi a sprioc a bhaint amach ar deireadh, ach bhí uirthi cloí leis an dlí agus rialacha áitiúla gan tuilleadh caimiléireacht. Is tábhachtach teachtaireacht mar sin a chur trasna chuig páistí: taispeánann sé dhóibh nach ann don “sióg máithriúil” agus caifear obair a chur isteach ar do chuid aislingí… Ach san am céanna, má bhíonn tú dána, gheobhaidh tú pionós.

Ballerina

Tá namhaid spéisiúil ag Felicie chomh maith. Níl Camille bheag go hiomlán olc, ach tarlaíonn sé go bhfuil an-chuid brú uirthi ag teacht óna máthair féin chun an sprioc céanna a bhaint amach. Múintear ceacht eile do na lucht féachanna óga le scéal Camille: níor rugadh éinne “olc”. Foghlaimítear droch-nósanna i rith an tsaoil. D’aineoinn sin, is féidir le haon namhaid maitheas a dhéanamh ar deireadh má thugtar cairdeas fírinneach di.

Ballerina

Is thar bharr an rince a bhfeictear sa scáthlán ó tús go deireadh an sárshaothair so. D’éirigh leis an bhfoireann beochana íomhá a chruthú atá tarraingtheach agus inchreidte san am céanna. Níl sé deacair duine a shamhlú ag tabhairt fé na céimeanna céanna sa bhfíor-shaol. Is mór is fiú féachaint ar an scannán so, is cuma más páiste nó duine fásta thú!

by Natalia Danzmann

5/5

All-time Broadway ‘smash-hit’, “Amadeus” Review

Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus” is one of the greatest and most popular plays of the second half of the twentieth century – it gave greater currency to the name of W A Mozart and resurrected another name that was once celebrated in the world of music, Antonio Salieri.

Before 1979, few moderns had ever heard the name of Salieri. Yet, two hundred years earlier, at a time when Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had composed over five hundred musical works and had only a few years left to live, his operas were rarely performed – eclipsed in Vienna and elsewhere by the ‘immortal’ operas of Antonio Salieri! And then came “Amadeus”, followed by the Oscar-winning Milos Forman film, and Salieri achieved the fame he had long ago craved for. (The film won eight Oscars – and Maurice Jarre, who won the Oscar for Best Original Musical score, – for “A Passage to India” – later commented:- “I was lucky Mozart wasn’t eligible”; true for him!.)

“Amadeus”, which tells the story of the rivalry between Mozart and his contemporary who was for a time more successful than Mozart, is one of the twentieth century’s most delightful plays. Its plot was inspired by a play by Pushkin which was based on a rumour that Salieri had claimed on his death-bed to have poisoned Mozart – claiming that he did it because of his obsessive jealousy of the divine gifts the granted to the latter. (The claim has never been supported by scholars, although he did hinder the career of his impractical and often unwise colleague.)

The play premiered in 1979 at The National Theatre, directed by Sir Peter Hall with the great Paul Schofield as Salieri, Simon Callow as Mozart and Felicity Kendall as Mozart’’s wife, Constanze. It was a great hit and transferred to The West End. In 1980 it was produced on Broadway, with Ian McKellan as Salieri, Tim Curry as Mozart and Jane Seymour as Constanze. It was nominated for seven ‘Tonys’, winning five; a ‘Tony’ is awarded for “distinguished achievement in US theatre” and is the stage equivalent of an ‘Oscar’. The production ran for an astonishing 1181 performances, which places it in the All-time Broadway Top-20 for straight plays.

I first saw ‘Amadeus’ at The Gate Theatre in 1983, a production that remains a treasured theatrical memory; Alan Stanford, was superb as Salieri, and won that year’s Harvey’s Award for Best Actor.  And up in Ballyduff they still talk glowingly about a 1992 production of the play Directed by the late Bill Canning, featuring Patsy Ahern as Salieri and the recently-deceased Hugh Moynihan as Mozart.

Shaffer has been accused of trivialising Mozart, of presenting him as a vulgar human being, but it’s also true that few have better grasped the glory of his music. At one point he has Salieri say, at the 1786 premiere of Mozart’s miraculous opera, “The Marriage of Figaro”:-

“Trembling, I heard the second Act. The restored third Act! The astonishing fourth! What shall I say to you who will one day hear this last Act for yourselves? You will – because whatever else shall pass away, this must remain”.

And towards the end of the play, as the notes of Mozart’s last Symphony rise to a crescendo, a tortured Salieri’s voice becomes ever more strident as he claps his hands to his aching ears to shut it out :- “Mozart’s music sounded louder and louder through the world! And mine faded completely, till no one played it at all.”

For music-lovers and those without interest in music, this is a delightful play, both funny and heartbreaking by turn. It tells a great story. The London press have given this production some resoundingly positive reviews. It’s at Movies@ Gorey on Thurs, Feb 2nd.  – were it not being screened live, I would be heading to London to see it.  (Jim Ryan).

Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” from Covent Garden Review

World-class singers in Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” from Covent Garden  

Within twenty-four months, from March 1851, three operas by Guiseeppe Verdi, each amongst the greatest and most popular ever composed premiered – “Rigoletto” on March 11th, 1851 in Venice; “Il Trovatore” on January 19th, 1853, in Rome, and “La Traviata”, in Venice, on March 6th, 1853. And “Trovatore” was a tumultuous hit – so great was the applause that the last Act was encored in its entirety.

To quote Denis Forman:- “Trovatore immediately moved up to the top of the Italian repertory and has remained there ever since”; and there could be no greater accolade, in my eyes, than the fact that the immortal Marx Brothers wove their own magical brand of mayhem around a performance of “Trovatore” in their film, “A Night at the Opera”.

While ever since his third opera, “Nabucco”, Verdi had achieved fame as a composer, it was this trio of stage works, his 17th, 18th and 19th,  respectively, that set him on the road to operatic superstardom which made him an Italian national treasure.

“Il Trovatore” demands powerful soloists – Caruso famously proclaimed that all you needed for it was the four greatest singers in the world. In this regard, Forman writes:- “Warning: “Trovatore” demands four top-class singers. With three it gets by. With two or less it can be a pain”.

Well, patrons need have no worries for this production. Dmitri Hvorostovsky (one of the great Baritones) and Mezzo-soprano, Anita Rachvelishvili, who sings Azucena, has already been heard to thrilling effect – she is one of the finest new voices I’ve heard in recent years. The American duo, the rich-toned soprano, Lianna Haroutounian as ‘Leonora, and Gregory Kunde (with his marvellous high notes), are superb singers. (Haroutounian was magnificent in Verdi’s “Les Vepres Siciliennes” from Covent Garden two years ago).

Opera is famous for complicated plots, but “Il Trovatore” is something else! The Count di Luna(Snr.) had a gypsy burned at the stake. Her daughter, Azucena, thirsting for revenge, burns the Count’s son – or so she thought! It was her own son she had killed and not realising it, she raises the Count’s son as her own – the tenor, Manrico. So, the Count (Jnr.) and Manrico don’t know they’re brothers until it’s too late. And now, this opera of love, hate, vengeance begins.

The ‘brothers who don’t know they’re brothers’ are in love with Soprano, Leonora. It’s a no-holds-barred work all the way through with much full-blooded singing and some of Verdi’s loveliest music. Highlights are:- two marvellous and famous choruses, the ‘Anvil’ and the ‘Gypsy’, the haunting baritone aria, ‘Il Balen’, (‘The Tempest of the Heart’), the rousing tenor aria, ‘Di Quella Pira’ (with it’s thrilling High C)’, the magical Tenor-Mezzo duet, ‘Ai Nostri Monti’ (much-loved and performed as ‘Home to our Mountains’), the Tenor-Soprano duet, ‘ Miserere’ and, one of the most beautiful of all soprano arias, ‘D’amor sull’ali rosee’. And there’s much more …

“Il Trovatore” is opera at its most operatic, and, with the expected “four greatest singers” in this production, it should be wonderful – maybe as good as the memorable screening of “The Tempest” we had here last week.

Verdi’s “Il Trovatore can be seen on Tues, Jan 31st at 7.15pm.

By Jim Ryan

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