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Your reaction: La donna del lago

A selection of your tweets from the opening night of John Fulljames's production.

By Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News))

17 May 2013 at 11.32pm | 49 Comments


What did you think of La donna del lago?

La donna del lago runs until 11 June. Tickets at Covent Garden are no longer available though the performance on 27 May will be relayed live into cinemas around the world.

The production is sponsored by the Peter Moores Foundation and the Friends of Covent Garden with generous philanthropic support from Celia Blakey, Hélène and Jean Peters, Judith Portrait and Susan and John Singer. The Production Director generously supported by Hamish and Sophie Forsyth.

By Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News))

17 May 2013 at 11.32pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged #ROHdonna, audience, by John Fulljames, Gioachino Rossini, Joyce DiDonato, juan diego florez, La donna del lago, Production, review, Social Media, twitter, your reaction

This article has 49 comments

  1. E garcia responded on 18 May 2013 at 12:55am Reply

    What a turkey! Did we need such a dreadful production? The Paris one was not good but in comparison was a masterpeace. It would have been better in concert version. A shameful night for the ROH!

    • Couldn't disagree more, a magnificent opera and production in every way. Couple of minor flaws Spyres was weak on top notes but very demanding role and next to JDF...well who COULD equal that? And chorus entrances loose early on. But the production was great, whilst making you feel rather uncomfortable in a couple of places, and the glass cases symbolism was a perfect way of returning the myth from wence it came. A rapturous reception as well.

  2. Emiliano Garcia responded on 18 May 2013 at 1:17am Reply

    Not a very good night for the ROH. Good singing but shameful production. A complete waste of money. ENO with half of the budget has produced better and more interesting productions

  3. Peter Erdos responded on 18 May 2013 at 1:52pm Reply

    What a starry night last night at Covent Garden, The little or hardly known "Donna del lago" reappeared after a 30 year old absence. We had the magnificent Joyce diDonato as Elena, the fab. Florez as the King, the most impressive Daniela Barcelona as Malcolm and Michael Spyres the superb replacement for an ailing Colin Lee. This opera can only be performed with such a cast as a basic requirement and I am grateful to Covent Garden to bring it to us.
    There is unfortunately no rose without thorns and again the production team's effort has met a very loud and well deserved universal disapproval. of the audience.
    Producers don't seem to understand today that opera must be a concerted effort between stage and the music and libretto the composers meant. Admittedly this opera has a "silly" story but a few glass cabinets containing some of the principals and putting poor Elena in a glass coffin (Snow white!) at the end is certainly not acceptable.
    All that said, the evening was a resounding success thanks to the wonderful singers of the music by a wonderful composer!

  4. Mark Knowles responded on 18 May 2013 at 2:48pm Reply

    I wish members of public would stop saying things like "not acceptable" and "opera must be". Otherwise, thank you for your review, Peter.

    • Peter Erdos responded on 19 May 2013 at 3:13pm

      Dear Mark, As a seasoned opera-goer of the past 50 years or so, I beg to differ. If you read most of the comments of other people carefully you will see that my observation is not unique in fact they are quite in agreement with me.
      Perhaps you don't remember when we had Messrs. Zeffirelli or Visconti producing operas which were delight to the eyes as well as the ears and they KNEW their libretti.
      I do not wish to have an argument but please permit me to express my opinions as I feel.
      Perhaps you want to reprimand Messrs Stephen Cutler or Philip Arnold (commented on 19th May) for expressing their views,which I agree with wholeheartedly!

  5. Alan Evison responded on 18 May 2013 at 3:23pm Reply

    Loved the singing - Joyce Didonato, Juan Diego Flores...unforgettable! Didn't love the production. Why over-complicate such a simple yarn? It's just distracting!

  6. Stephen Diviani responded on 18 May 2013 at 4:50pm Reply

    The production got me thinking and I found the ending quite haunting. Great singing all round but I was really impressed by Daniela Barcellona's Malcolm: stunning.

  7. John Stratton responded on 18 May 2013 at 7:08pm Reply

    Well I thought last night particularly stunning. I knew nothing of the opera and I felt the production excellent. Plainly a retrospective on events of a long past war viewed in a museum environment by the curious of the 19th century. The orchestra were fabulous and the singing unbelievably spectacular. I was - as they say - 'blown away'! VERY well done and MANY thanks. I might even go again if I can get a returned ticket!!

  8. John Davies responded on 18 May 2013 at 11:10pm Reply

    Quite simply the opening night was a resounding success. So much is expected of Juan Diego Florez and Joyce Didonato and they delivered - once again - in bucket fulls. But perhaps the most exciting part of the performance was to hear the 'new' voices of Daniela Barcellona - who was magnificent and Colin Lee's super sub Michael Spyres who was wonderful and certainly gave great authority to the part of Rodrigo. However I feel very special mention has to be made of Michele Mariotti in the pit. I thought his skill and presentation and particularly his closeness to the chorus and band on stage was a delight. He has a wonderful future in store and I than ROH for bringing him to 'the house' for the first time. Robin Leggate was a solid cornerstone throughout and there is no douby that Justina Gringyte as Albina has a great operatic future in store. Much of the production was in my view very good and my sole criticism was reserved for the finale when I am still mystified why Elena had to be lowered into a glass coffin - but did that really matter on a wonderful opening night? No. Did it deserve restrained booing? No This was a night to savour a great performance.

  9. Phillip Arnold responded on 19 May 2013 at 11:09am Reply

    Elena, the heroine, is in a display case in a Victorian museum. Her maid is a museum attendant. When she is released from the display case, she and Uberto climb on another display case containing a ship and are pushed across the stage - geddit? No - nor me! Elena's modest house consists of a huge gothic revolving staircase. So - not much naturalism in this production, then. Until it becomes necessary for the highlanders to gather up the women and start an embarrassingly unconvincing rape session.

    Happily, the vocal rewards were great. Florez displaying his usual bel canto (and can belto) prowess. Was Joyce Didonato (vocal heaven) barefoot throughout as she was too tall for him even in his Cuban heels? Danielle Barcellona looked and sounded suitably butch as Malcom. And Michael Spyres ( standing in for Colin Lee) had a profound lower register and great technique, although he tended to strangulate and lose volume a bit at the top.

    All was worth having to sit through this turkey of a production when Didonato let loose in Tanti affetti. Sensational is probably too mild. What a great, great singer. Last Night prommers really are in for a treat. She is such a "giver".

    Now, Covent Garden, please consign this production to the vaults permanently along with the ghastly Nabucco and disgraceful Robert le Diable. You know, traditional CAN work. Look at your own Traviata and Glyndebourne's Meistersinger.

  10. Stephen Cutler responded on 19 May 2013 at 12:58pm Reply

    What perplexes me is that a director, even an inexperienced one, can actually believe that this sort of concept, the story within a story, is original. How many times have we seen it? I've lost count. And what does it add? Nothing at all. It's particularly sad when a rare opera such as this is messed about, because for most of the audience, this may be the only chance they will ever have to see it, and Mr Fulljames has denied them the opportunity to see it straight.

  11. John Davies responded on 19 May 2013 at 8:34pm Reply

    Having re-read the programme and given much thought over the past 24 hours to the production I am now far more aware than I was on the opening night of the whole concept.
    For me it was all quite self explanatory with the sole exception of the glass coffin at the end but was that not Elena returning to her past having en-acted her part in the presence of Scott & Rossini? It takes a little thought but I am now looking forward to the broadcast on 27th to confirm my thoughts from the opening night. To those who booed on the night I would say 'open your mind just a little' and it works. Maybe the same people would have booed at the recent Met performance of Le Comte D'Ory?

    • David Glynn responded on 31 May 2013 at 1:52pm

      Surely she is not returning to her past, she is returning to her future! But seriously - the concept of the production is not difficult to understand. It just does nothing for Rossini's opera. My mind is quite open, thank you, and for me it does not work.

  12. Jill Jenkins responded on 19 May 2013 at 11:44pm Reply

    What a treat to hear such wonderful singing from Joyce DiDonato, Juan Florez,Daniela Barcellona and Michael Spyres - vocal gymnastics at their very best.Truly awesome!
    The production was a waste of space and having Serano and Albina onstage all the time was distracting and unnecessary. The orchestral playing was superb as ever, especially the pianissimi and the beautiful clarinet phrasing.

  13. Phillip Arnold responded on 20 May 2013 at 1:12pm Reply

    I think it's all very well to say that, having read the programme notes, one now knows what the producer's concept is, but the problem for me was that there was no clarity about this when watching the production - once you have to explain your production's concept, it has already failed. If the ideas are not clear from the performance, they are, by default, muddled.

    And I still don't know, or particularly care, what it was all about. Why, for example, did Elena start off in a display case. Was she supposed to be a dummy? Why was there a Marilyn Monroe Seven Year Itch draught up her skirt? And why did she end up in a Snow White style coffin??? Where were the dwarves? Hey ho.....

    • Peter Erdos responded on 21 May 2013 at 9:35am

      Exactly my sentiments , thank you Phillip! This is exactly why I brought up Visconti or Zeffirelli as examples who understood clearly the libretti and managed to put them across to the audience. They always were clear and concise!

  14. stephen ratcliffe responded on 21 May 2013 at 12:59pm Reply

    I was at the second night(18 May). Production was pants but Joyce di Dinato was superb. Can't understand the fuss about Michael Spyres - he was not very good last night. Otherwise great singing.

    • Sally Gibbons responded on 21 May 2013 at 3:01pm

      At last, someone who agrees with me about Spyres. I was beginning to think I must be tone deaf. Perhaps he was better on the first night. He actually made me wince a couple of times on second night.

      Otherwise, thoroughly agree with most comments about the production - confusing and messy. Florez and Di Donato were superlative, and what a marvellous OTT costume for JDF at the very end! Overall, I enjoyed it, but probably won't go again.

  15. Stephen Cutler responded on 21 May 2013 at 8:27pm Reply

    On this webpage:

    http://www.topfoto.co.uk/imageflows2/?s=la+donna+del+lago+barda

    you can see Clive Barda's photos of this new production, followed by those of Frank Corsaro's 1985 ROH production. Presumably the sets and costumes for that are stored away somewhere. We could, I guess, have had that instead, though I don't suppose it was even considered. To use the current terminology, it is probably just for what a modern director would call swivel-eyed loons. But if we had had it, would it have been booed? I think probably not.

  16. Joel Lee responded on 21 May 2013 at 9:13pm Reply

    A great night for singing and a rare chance to hear the great Daniela Barcellona. As one who saw the production in Paris and Milan, I am hard pressed as to why CG thought that this senseless, tasteless, forgettable production was any improvement. At the first interval no one had any idea what this production was about - a department store? A museum? Another boring story within a story. But with wonderful singing and conducting.

    • Louisa McDonnell responded on 22 May 2013 at 2:57pm

      I saw La Donna in Paris and Milan too and enjoyed that production very much. It's exciting to have the same wonderful singers at the ROH with an excellent conductor, but this production is dire. It shows no respect for Rossini's wonderful score. 'Senseless and tasteless' just about sums it up.

  17. marinaiki responded on 23 May 2013 at 12:37pm Reply

    Haven't seen it yet, - am going on Monday - but saw Di Donato and Florez in the Barber of Seville - in fact the evening where she broke her leg (!) I also saw them at the Met in Le Comte Ory - an equally idiotic plot. But I don't think one looks to Rossini for superb plotting and insightful characterisation as one does in Verdi, Puccini, Wagner etc. You go for the sparkling libretto and the sublime music - both of which are exemplified to the highest degree by these two stars. And this opera has at least one awesome aria for the mezzo which DiDonato should pull off spectacularly. If the production is great, so much the better - and I'm sorry to hear that most comments here don't think much of it. That said, I am SO looking forward to it and as long as these two are in their usual divine form, I shall be a happy bunny!!!

  18. John Davies responded on 23 May 2013 at 9:57pm Reply

    Ah I knew it some one thinks The Met version of Le Comte D'Ory was idiotic!!

    This is a simple message to everyone at ROH - ignore the ridiculous comments on the production of La Donna del Lago - it is excellent and just because it requires a little thought to get to it is no excuse for ill informed comment. As I said previously the same critics probably did not get The Met production of Le Comte D'Ory - which incidentally I thought was very clever and excellent! End of rant!!

  19. Alice Poulsen responded on 24 May 2013 at 10:08am Reply

    Great evening last night (23 May) - and thank goodness Colin Lee was back on stage (not prepared to put up with Spyres again, sorry!). All sang great and cannot wait to hear it again on Monday in the house.

    Production not growing on me - ROH pls do not enter into the deadful work of Eurotrash and can you not get rid of the rape scene - adds nothing to this opera at all. Just vile mis-judgement ...........

  20. Victor Pars responded on 25 May 2013 at 12:21pm Reply

    A fascinating opera and great voices, but Fulljames' production is absolute trash! It's such a shame.

  21. Anthony Russell responded on 25 May 2013 at 1:08pm Reply

    The singing was amazing, but the production was a total mess - nonsense masquerading as art! If you have to write articles/produce videos etc. to explain your 'concept' there is something wrong with that concept. All theatrical choices should be understandable to the audience. The booing that came at the end of the first night was not from uninformed patrons who just want a 'nice' night out, but from intelligent people who hate being patronised. This sort of nonsense is what turns people away from returning to the opera house. Why risk paying a lot of money to be so annoyed. It is more cost effective to but a video and a good bottle of wine and stay at home!!!

  22. AliceP responded on 25 May 2013 at 3:00pm Reply

    @Anthony Russell - you are SO right. Both nights I have attended I have overheard people saying they would return tickets for subsequent performances for re-sale all thanks to the production - when people are returning ticket for an opera with that cast, because of the production ......... something is seriously wrong.

    • Anthony Russell responded on 26 May 2013 at 12:08pm

      When the arts are complaining of a lack of funding this sort of behaviour to the PAYING public is disgraceful. I started coming to Covent Garden as a student in 1971 and have been a Friend for 42 years. I now live a long way from London and therefore my visits are less regular than they used to be. However, I do try to see most of the new productions, as well as interesting revivals. The cost of travel and hotel makes it a very expensive treat.I would dearly love to see Les Vepres Siciliennes next season, but I fear the deconstructionist approach of the director may destroy my enjoyment of this rarely performed work. I cannot wait for the reviews to come out as the tickets will be sold (for the front Amphitheatre, which is the price level I can afford). Do I risk getting tickets or do I not bother? My recent experiences of performances of Robert le Diable, Eugene Onegin, Nabucco and now La Donna Del Largo sadly make me tend towards the latter option!!

  23. Gill responded on 25 May 2013 at 5:07pm Reply

    The singing was wonderful, wouldn't have missed this for that, but couldn't agree more with most of the comments about the production, shouldn't have to buy a programme to try to understand what the glass cases were doing etc, and am fed up with directors who feel they have to promote their egos by putting their own stamp on an opera, so often seeming to be at odds with the composer, and detracting from rather than enhancing the original, as well as trying to shock by adding gratuitous brutality.

  24. Sean O'Byrne responded on 27 May 2013 at 8:29am Reply

    I feared the worst after seeing Mr Fulljames' awful "Clemenza" in Leeds but a rarity and a stellar cast persuaded me to part with a lot of money including for travel and hotel. Again as in the appalling recent Onegin, we had patronising trash from a director who doesn't give two hoots about or understand the intentions of the composer and librettist. The trend at the ROH is becoming clear. Regietheater is squeezing out the decent shows. The list of directors to avoid grows ever longer and they are all gaining ground here. There is so much more enjoyment now to be had from B-list singers in small houses.

  25. Stephen Cutler responded on 27 May 2013 at 10:23am Reply

    Just one final thought. I have tickets for 6 performances of this production because I like the music and the singers that much. Each night, the singers and conductor come onto the stage at the end to receive the audience's judgement. Yet the director (as is usual everywhere) appears only on the first night. Fulljames should be brought out every night so that the audience can show him what it thinks.

    It is a strange thing that, if a singer were repeatedly booed, the management would think twice about hiring them again. Yet if a director is booed, it seems only to enhance his status amongst his colleagues and the opera management, and it is the audience who are deemed too stupid, reactionary, middle-class, old, conservative or whatever you prefer to understand his work. Like Mr Russell, I have been a Friend or Supporting Friend for over 40 years. I am beginning to wonder what it is I am supporting.

  26. PetervScott responded on 27 May 2013 at 11:41pm Reply

    Middlesbrough Cineworld had no subtitles for the first hour or so and said the fault was with ROH. Very dissappointed they helped me when they came on. Some customers had left by then.

  27. Michael de Navarro responded on 27 May 2013 at 11:51pm Reply

    I was not entirely convinced by the Walter Scott/Rossini museum piece approach but compared to the horrors of the production in Paris with the same cast this was at least an intelligent try. The singing which had been exceptional in Paris was even better here. Phenomenal. I shall be suprosed if I ever hear 4 better Rossini singers at the same time. A privilege to be there.

  28. Suzanne La Piazza responded on 28 May 2013 at 12:22am Reply

    The director and the costume designer between them managed a grasp of Scottish history which elevates Mel Gibson to professorship status. Laughable if it were not so distracting and annoying. But the singing across the whole cast was superb. Maestro Mariotti also.

  29. david suthers responded on 28 May 2013 at 9:48am Reply

    Saw Donna last night at our cinema in cardiff.
    Singing wonderful, poor production. if there was an explanation in the ROH programme of the production /sets especially the glass coffins etc please send me extracts. We go to all the cinema transmissions, only cost us £20 total for two of us. Sadly we cannot get to London any more but we are regulars at the WNO at our fabulous Gordon Theatre in the WMC. We meet people who come down from London who get the train fare, B&B and opera tickets for the same price as one ticket at the ROH!
    David

  30. A. Saxton responded on 28 May 2013 at 2:01pm Reply

    I saw La Donna at the Kensington Odeon last night, my first experience of an opera in a cinema. There was a break in transmission, with loss of sound and picture, during the final scene,and I wonder if this was local to this venue or experienced worldwide? I had been unable to get a ticket for this production at a price I was willing to pay, and can only marvel to hear that some are able to book for several performances, possibly at the higher end of the price range. As for the singing, quite exceptional from all four principals, leaving the poor Duglas sounding rather ordinary. I saw the earlier production, borrowed from Santa Fe, and doubtless no longer available. That too had spectacular singing - I particularly remember David Rendall's Rodrigo, as it was quite different from what I expected, really of international standard. This 'old fashioned' production came in for some stick at the time as being rudimentary - you can't win, it seems. Personally, I found the current treatment intriguing, not at all hard to follow in its basic concept - Albina even looked like Rossini! I would agree that the rape sequence was unnecessary, though the 'blooding' had a point. But why was Giacomo in a C16th costume in Act 1, but he was in C18th garb later, and his soldiers had become redcoats?

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 28 May 2013 at 2:20pm

      Hi,
      Thanks for your comments and very sorry to hear you experienced technical problems last night - we're in contact with the cinema in question to ascertain the reasons behind the break in transmission. In regards to ticket prices, cinemas set their own individual pricing.

      Thanks,

      Chris
      Digital Content Producer

  31. Daryl Morrison responded on 28 May 2013 at 2:58pm Reply

    Amazing singing but appalling production - all the latest productions at Covent Garden have been a disaster

  32. David Thomas responded on 28 May 2013 at 8:23pm Reply

    saw it last night at Exeter. what a joy, loved every minute of it. Beautiful singing.
    Will there be a DVD. David

  33. Graham Walton responded on 31 May 2013 at 11:13pm Reply

    First time we have heard let alone seen La Donna Del Lago. Beautiful music and great performances by Juan Diego Florez and Daniels Barcellona. Star of the show for us though was Joyce Didonato who was flawless and showed what a supreme talent she really is.

    The production on the other hand was a shocker. I can understand Kasper Holton wanting to challenge the audiences at Covent Garden. But the producer of this Opera came up with a baffling production with unsavoury moments like the rape seen, which was rightly booed by a few people. It smacked of a producer who wanted his work to be noticed above the music and the artists.

  34. A wonderful night of superlative, thrilling singing and beautiful music. DiDonato, Barcellona, Florez et al were mesmerizing, especially in the second act. The voices were superb together. Many people critisize the production. I actually liked it; I think it gave the actual present staging an interesting context which reminded us of the power of illusion and of the curious status of opera - the connoseurship, the politics, the resurrections and reinventions... I did not find it obtrusive at all - the fairy tale element I found totally appropriate too. But what singing - life is beautiful and art enhances it so much. Thank you to everybody involved in this production and to Cyril for recommending it to us!

  35. John M responded on 4 June 2013 at 10:02pm Reply

    I am posting these comments late as I attended one of the performances mid-run. As with most others who have commented here, I thought the singing was wonderful but was bitterly disappointed with the production. What's wrong with just letting a story unfold? If this plot is rather silly, then the director's gloss was even sillier and did nothing to clarify matters or help us to a greater understanding of what Rossini wanted us to understand; what he did with Albina is a case in point. It looked like the director had an idea and lots of bad ones. Was that a wind farm at the start of act 2 or just trees and I am sure Malcolm was wearing a Newcastle United top under his/her tunic. So, Robert le Diable, Eugene Onegin, Nabucco and La donna del lago all dire as new productions. The ROH very often gets the singers right but seems to be losing its way with directors. One wonders what is going to happen to Les Vepres Siciliennes. There's a powerful story there with complex human relationships and motivations .... just waiting to be deconstructed.

  36. Peter Lewis responded on 7 June 2013 at 6:32pm Reply

    I saw the performance on Tuesday. Simply blown away with the singing from all the leads. Two tenors swapping top Cs, wow. I loved the 'man' Malcom with the kilt and Ms DiDonato simply amazing. BUT, I was never sure if I was watching a mix of Brigadoon, A night in the museum, Game of Thrones or all three. Umbrellas in the highlands? Crazy stuff. I feel challenged. Alright?

  37. Abigail Sargent responded on 12 June 2013 at 5:41pm Reply

    June 7th was an evening of brilliant bel canto - musically a triumph of unforgettable artistry from the ravishing DiDonato and Florez. And the production was to my mind intelligent, intriguing and illuminating and full of interesting visual and literary references (but not from TV or Disney!) It may not have been a flawless or perfect production - possibly because it seemed almost "over-full"of ideas and I personally would prefer not to see the rape scene depicted so gratuitously. Sometimes "less is more" perhaps? But overall I rated this as an outstandingly memorable opera experience .

  38. Roy Hiscock responded on 13 June 2013 at 1:21pm Reply

    I think that I am in a minority of one, but (at the performances on 31 May and 7 June, which I attended) I was a little disappointed at the lack of artistry of Mr Florez (particularly) and Ms diDonato - for much of the time (not all, but enough to be annoying), each seemed more interested in showing us what a brilliant singer he/she is, with what a wonderful voice, rather than engaging in an opera performance. Frankly, it seemed mere showing off (or playing to the gallery). OK, if that's what you want - fine: but why bother with a production? Each can do - and has done, not least at the ROH - far, far better, with operas at least as silly and as vocally demanding as La Donna del Lago. Had this been a concert performance, this objection would matter less (if at all), but this was a staged production and presumably meant to convey something dramatic (though quite what, I'm unsure: and don't tell me that I have to spend £7 on a programme to find out what the director's idea might be - I can't afford to). Possibly the problem lay with the director - they were merely doing what he had asked of them. Whatever the reason, I must say that I really dislike concerts in costume.
    Incidentally, how do you describe the part of Malcolm? it would usually be called a "trouser" role, but that might be inappropriate here: a "sporran" role perhaps? For what it's worth, I go along with the general consensus about Ms Barcellona: she was excellent and she did try to engage.dramatically throughout..

  39. JohnG responded on 13 June 2013 at 2:49pm Reply

    This is a fascinating exchange about a thought-provoking production. But I’m uneasy about the dichotomy that is emerging here between ‘divine singing’ and ‘lousy production’. The singing was indeed wonderful, especially Joyce Didonato’s bel canto master-class – and Michael Spyres deserves more credit he has received for tackling his daunting first aria. But the production? There will always be demands for ‘realistic’ staging, though a plot as silly as La Donna del Lago is not a strong candidate for such treatment, with its shallow characterisation and unconvincing switches of plot. But there’s also a place for fresh and original reinterpretation. All of us who go to the opera (and therefore love it as a living art form) should not simply demand repeats of the brilliant productions of the Zefirellis and Viscontis, which were also often controversial in their day. We should also accept that directing opera is inherently a risky business and is bound to offend some. Personally I’m more offended by uninspired ‘straight’ stagings of, for example, Onegin or Ariadne than I was by the (for me) stimulating recent productions at Covent Garden and Glyndeborne. As for La Donna del Lago, I found the rape scene unnecessary: the roughness of the Highlanders is clear in the music and the action, without having to be demonstrated so crudely. I was also unhappy that Uberto pawed and kissed Elena, against the laws of traditional Highland hospitality. But the overall concept – a museum performance of an unreal story about ethnic Highlanders, put on by Rossini and Scott for the benefit of nineteenth (and twenty-first) century ‘connoisseurs’ – struck me as valid and intelligent. So I hope the Covent Garden management will continue to give directors licence to imagine and reinterpret, provided the director is passionate about the music and understands that he/she is part of a team in which the composer, librettist, conductor and musicians are at least as important.

  40. Malcolm B responded on 1 April 2014 at 3:41pm Reply

    Unfortunately, not all of us can afford to go to Covent Garden to see opera live and have to wait for recordings to become available to see them.
    A few days ago I was invited to watch La Donna del Lago. The cast and orchestra were absolutely wonderful - the production? If I had saved up to make the journey to London to see this, I think I would have asked for a refund under the Trades Description Act! For those just becoming interested in opera, "smart-a--ed" productions such as this would surely put them off for life. I found it totally distracting trying to fathom out what was going on in stead of being able to concentrate on the glorious singing. There must be hundreds of people who would like to see "traditional versions", especially of rarely performed works, before experimenting with, to put it politely, alternative productions.
    When I first became interested in Wagner, it was the old Met version with Hildegarde Behrens and Siegfried Jerusalem which held my attention and inspired me to watch other works, not the abysmal version of "Die Walkure" set on the wing of an aircraft with suitcases dotted around.
    I agree with the adverse comments posted above, in particular those made about recent ROH productions and, just a thought, would not sales of the DVDs and Blu-rays be a lot greater if they they were of performances one would like to watch over again?
    Please, could this cast be persuaded to find an opera house willing to stage this properly and also record it?

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