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Your reaction: Andrea Chénier

What did you think of David McVicar's production of Giordano's verisimo opera?

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

21 January 2015 at 11.24am | 53 Comments

Press reviews:
Independent ★★★★★
Guardian ★★★★
Telegraph ★★★★
Financial Times ★★★★
Arts Desk ★★★★
Music OMH ★★★★
Times (£) ★★★
Evening Standard ★★★

What did you think of Andrea Chénier?

Andrea Chénier runs until 6 February 2015. A very limited number of tickets are still available; there are also 67 day tickets for each performance, and returns may become available.
The production will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 29 January 2015. Find your nearest cinema and sign up for our mailing list.

The production is a co-production with the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, and San Francisco Opera, and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Simon and Virginia Robertson, Spindrift Al Swaidi, Mercedes T. Bass and Mrs Trevor Swete.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

21 January 2015 at 11.24am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Andrea Chénier, by David McVicar, Production, review, Social Media, twitter, your reaction

This article has 53 comments

  1. Jonathan Sydenham responded on 21 January 2015 at 11:54am Reply

    Why put on this opera unless you have more to say than just a cartoon-style rehash of a clunky story? Dullest production of the season. The best vocals came from the spy and the poor old gran begging for her grandson. Kaufmann decidedly underpowered, Westbroek loveable but some awful high notes. Graves her usual squally self but edible stage presence. Pappano conducting the first half so loudly that you wondered if he was sort of disavowing the drivel being put across on stage. Other good stuff: really good work from the chorus in act three and an impressive Gerard, the only interesting character last night.

    • lizbie responded on 22 January 2015 at 11:52am

      There is only one reason to put on this opera & that's the existence of a tenor capable of hitting the notes and acting the part.

  2. A wonderful evening of opera. Superb singing in a gorgeous new production to be cherished and admired

  3. Paul Trevor Bale responded on 21 January 2015 at 1:04pm Reply

    I wonder what production I was at last night as what I experienced at the Royal Opera House was a wonderfully exciting evening of music, produced with visual splendour and historical accuracy in costumes and decor. Jonas Kaufman is beyond comparison these days, and the other singers all pulled their game up to match his. Great work from the chorus and the orchestra lush and romantic. Wonderful. If at the curtain calls they'd announced they were going to go back to the start and begin again, I would have happily stayed in my seat!

  4. Stephen Cutler responded on 21 January 2015 at 1:13pm Reply

    One of the best evenings for a very long time. Magnificent singing from all the principals, unmatchable chorus and stupendous playing from the orchestra. I loved the production, which showed respect for the libretto and the music. The singers delivered almost all the important passages straight to audience and from the front of the stage, so they could be heard even above Giordano's loud orchestration. They tell me - I don't know if it's true - that Mr Holten does not like McVicar's work. That would not surprise me. But the audience seemed to like it, and so did I.

  5. Alexa Williamson responded on 21 January 2015 at 1:16pm Reply

    This production of Andre Chenier was amazing! Terfel and al the other cast were sensational. Anyone who didn't like it is up their own you know what! Well done.

  6. Paul Arrowsmith responded on 21 January 2015 at 1:43pm Reply

    Having expected an evening of can belto I was disappointed by such a dispaly of good taste. The direction went through the motions with the characters undifferentiated, the performers displayed no belief in what they were portraying, the conducting far too passionless for such a vibrant opera. Nobody looked as though they cared - which at Covent Garden prices is an insult to the audience. Visually this was well nigh the same production as 30 years ago. That was thin beer. This is just downright flat.

  7. OperaWerner responded on 21 January 2015 at 2:15pm Reply

    No excitement, no wattage, no thrill. The Improviso went for nothing: no ringing trumpet tones, not even lots of volume and, points, the orchestra overwhelmed Jonas Kaufmann. Tepid applause – nothing from me. It says something about a production of Andrea Chenier when the baritone role of Gerard (Zeljko Lucic) brings the house down – but that role is not supposed to be the star of the evening.

    I’ve only heard Chenier once, in 2004 in a Chelsea Opera Group performance. I did not know the opera at all, so I was pinned to the back of my seat when Peter Auty absolutely nailed the Improviso. No such experience last night.

    The set looked like it had been borrowed from David McVicar’s current ROH production of The Marriage of Figaro. Doesn’t he and his production team realise that people might go to see more than one production at the ROH?

    On my way out of the theatre, I saw a newspaper opera reviewer I know and asked him his opinion: he felt that the production was better than some recent ones, and that it had been a dull evening, with Jonas Kaufmann not delivering the goods – ‘what we needed was Franco Corelli!’ were his parting words.

    I have tickets for two more performances which are winging their way back to the Box Office so, if you want to hear and judge for yourself, look out for them!

    • John M. responded on 4 February 2015 at 6:12pm

      I am puzzled by this. What I saw on 03 February was completely different - tremendous.The references to Corelli are also puzzling. It is a long long time since the late Corelli sang at Covent Garden, most of today's audience cannot have heard him live. I remember reading a review in Opera magazine which said "Mr Corelli is 6' 2" and so is every one of his notes." The Telegraph obituary described his voice as stentorian. Well, if that is what you want ....

  8. I despair reading some of the comments above - I suspect that the correspondents, even if shown the glories of heaven, would have complained about the quality of the Ambrosia and compared it unfavourably to long passed ambrosia. "What we needed was Corelli" - I'll fetch my spade and start digging... If Kaufmann "didn't deliver the goods" then I'm not sure what goods were required! A superb evening, in my view, and one which will undoubtedly strengthen further as the run continues

    • lizbie responded on 22 January 2015 at 11:12am

      Well, quite, Sebastian! It's obvious that what some people think is required from the tenor is just 'can belto,' whereas Kaufmann delivers a much more subtle rendition. As for not much applause...really? According to one critic, Kaufmann brought the house down. I'd say the truth is in between!

    • Mike responded on 22 January 2015 at 6:59pm

      Completely agree! I must admit I have complained about most new ROH productions over the past year, but I absolutely loved this one. I haven't left the opera feeling quite so happy in a long time. Manged to get a ticket for tomorrow night as well and thinking I'll go to the live cinema relay too! Bravo ROH!

  9. Liane responded on 21 January 2015 at 7:53pm Reply

    I agee with many of the comments above though I did like the production itself. However, I was very underwhelmed. The characters were not very convincing and did not connect too well with each other. Kaufmann sang his arias beautifully so did Westbroeck but somehow they were not as convincing as I know them from other performances. Being used to much more enthusiastic applause at the end, this time it was rather low key. I noticed that quite a few people sitting near me did not even bother to clap at the end. I found the story itself not very gripping and am not surprised that this opera is not performed very often.

    I have a ticket for another performance with a better seat and maybe by then I will change my mind.

    The only performance that moved me was the woman singing for mercy for her son and also Zeljko Lucic was very good
    and got the best applause.

  10. Monaikey responded on 22 January 2015 at 5:24pm Reply

    I should have been there !

  11. francois responded on 23 January 2015 at 4:25pm Reply

    I found Kaufmann's interpretation very interesting : he underlined much more the poetic side of Chenier than the revolutionary one, and in fact the "true" Chenier was a very introverse personality, certainly not the kind of guy who would voice out fortissimi to defend his ideas. However, as far as I am concerned the most fascinating performance came from Mrs Westbroek, who was really burning the stage with engagement, life, lyrism, she was absolutely exciting. I will come back to see other performances, this is the kind of production with lots of "1rst time in this opera" (Pappano, Kaufmann, Westbroek...) and sure it will gain in fluidity and electricity during the next performances

  12. Dave responded on 23 January 2015 at 4:45pm Reply

    Wonderful sets and costumes. This was the best new production of the season. The success of this production emphasised that the best productions stick to the librettist and composer's wishes. There was no ludicrous updating , no egotistical directorial gimmicks, no patronising nonscence of making the production relevant to a modern audience.

  13. Ekaterina N responded on 23 January 2015 at 5:15pm Reply

    Wonderful production. Beautiful sets and costumes.
    At last production true to historic setting of the opera.
    Superb performances by Jonas Kaufmann and Zeljko Lucic.
    I wish I had tickets for another perfomance!
    And I hope this production will be revived very soon.

  14. IanJ responded on 24 January 2015 at 8:54am Reply

    After reading some of the comments above, I was somewhat worried that my reaction would be 'oh no, not another one!'
    My concern was unfounded; the staging and set were excellent, the orchestra and chorus superb, and the performances, especially Kaufmann, Westbroek and Lučić, were wonderfully nuanced and moving. The audience reaction was much more than just polite; no one around me wanted to leave until after the last curtain call. The best opera production I've seen all year :-)

  15. francois responded on 24 January 2015 at 12:29pm Reply

    Regarding the production, I have been very disappointed. Yes, OK, sets and costumes are beautiful, but there is absolutely not a single sign of acting. David McVicar has already proven, in Le Nozze, Faust, Zauberflöte, Adriana, that he could be an excellent director, that he could give life to characters and their interactions. This time nothing happens. For example, how can he leave Bersi and the choir so static on the stage in Act II, exactly at the time where the score and the libretto are at a peak of violence and movements ? People are marching to the guillotine, Bersi is almost insulting a guy from the Revolution Secret Services, and all this happens as if she was singing a Bach oratorio in front of the conductor. Come on, Mr McVicar can do much much better !!!

  16. catherine responded on 24 January 2015 at 5:28pm Reply

    Vivi traditional productions without kalachnikovs, hair dryers from the sixties and rubber babies with big heads! Not forgetting synopsis updated in a caricatural way to the second world war and boko haram and other things who makes me feel stage directors assume that younger generations of potential opera goers are uneducated and possess shrunk brains.
    So, Bravi!!!! We want more!!!!!
    On the negative side, besides the fact that Jonas Kaufman is a great musician, does anyone knows if he might have a not so big voice? I saw him only trice live and I came to wonder if I would ever hear him well except in the first rows of the stalls?
    This is no critic. I would not dare. It is a simple question.

  17. Adam S responded on 24 January 2015 at 6:11pm Reply

    Marvellous performance at the ROH! Gorgeous singing from Kaufman and Westbroek, with electrifying arias and duets. Lucic had real gravitas and nobility. And at last, a new production to feast your eyes on! No rubber sharks, Amsterdam brothels and/or intellectual auto-eroticism. Instead, rococo elegance and revolutionary austerity, with fabulous period costumes. The opera itself is perhaps less laudable - a bit patchy musically, and rather cliched melodramatic story. Worth reviving though for the key numbers alone.

  18. Stephen Diviani responded on 25 January 2015 at 6:34pm Reply

    A conventional, old-fashioned production like this one would normally leave me bored & restless, but with this opera it struck me as entirely appropriate. Anyway I was totally held throughout. Kaufmann is a star. Don't shout at me, but I think, in this role, I prefer him to Domingo. A fantastic night & worth every penny.

  19. Chrissie Bates responded on 26 January 2015 at 9:48pm Reply

    I don’t think a conventional production has to be an old fashioned production. This was beautiful. David McVicar allows his operas to speak, or rather sing, for themselves. Updating and/or convoluted ideas were unnecessary - Andrea Chénier provides us with much to ponder: terror, beheadings, surveillance, men going to war, plus the silencing of those whose work is not approved of - there’s no need to lay it on with a trowel, the message comes through loud and clear.

    The evening contained some of the most moving moments I have experienced at the ROH - with some fine performances from the ensemble cast. Madelon’s aria will always be touching, and here even more so, with the fine casting of her grandson as a gangly, pubescent boy - a heartrending moment. The opera slowly gathers momentum, and the thundering climax was unforgettable. Reading some of the criticisms here, Kasper Holten must be tearing his hair out wondering what on earth he has to do to keep us all happy.

    I’m going to the cinema HD relay on Thursday - and I’ve told all my friends to go too!

  20. I love this opera!! Only once did I attend a concert performance with Alain Vanzo in Paris. His voice reminded me of Gigli. That evening has remained very much alive in my mind and no doubt will stay forever.What is the difference between Corelli and Kaufmann? It is very great indeed! When Corelli came on stage at the start the audience exploded with delight! When on stage he was so electrically magnetic it was almost impossible to take your eyes off him. .The applause at the end of an aria was deafening.His Vittoria! Vittoria!,in Tosca,was so powerful, he took over control of the whole performance! Audiences refused to leave to go home.The orchestra would disband and stage hands would push a piano on stage and
    Corelli would sing ! The stars certainly shone brightly in those days. Regrettably only a few old timers remember those days by now.They are unlikely to return. I am pleased that much praise is being showered on the current performances and audiences go home feeling
    the good factor! It is very clear that most opera-goers love and cherish their opera experiences today.Long may it continue.

    • lizbie responded on 27 January 2015 at 11:48am

      This is a different era. Star singers no longer 'control' performances & are expected to be a part of the whole - and a good thing too. If you heard Kaufmann's 'Vittoria!' at the ROH you'll have heard something equal to Corelli, maybe not in volume but certainly in vocal splendour.

  21. Stephen Ratcliffe responded on 27 January 2015 at 9:12am Reply

    Really enjoyed last night's performance - better than expected because of comments above. Maybe it had just settled down by the third performance. Kaufmann was in great voice. OK some Italians Corelli and dare I say del Monaco could make the temperature rise further but this was one of the best nights at the opera for some time. Thank you ROH.

  22. Siggy responded on 27 January 2015 at 10:25am Reply

    Frankly if I see one more Correlli comparison I'm going to go nuts! Don't get me wrong the guy had an incomparable voice...but alas he's not available for me to watch on stage today.

    Kaufmann and Westbroek may not be ideally suited to verismo but they perform it outstandingly well and on their own terms. In their hands, the characters of Chenier and Maddalena take on different hues and become somehow more human.

    Having said that the final act just soared into the stratosphere with no want of vocal passion. Like a fine wine this production just gets better and better.

    • lizbie responded on 27 January 2015 at 11:51am

      Absolutely. It seems that those who insist upon harking back to a mythical golden age of singing, do not grasp that opera today is not just a vehicle for 'stars' but a complete dramatic work. The days are long gone when a tenor could play hardly any part in the action outside of that required by his golden tones.

  23. Roger D responded on 27 January 2015 at 10:47am Reply

    Underwhelmed! Have seen Jonas Kaufmann many times before and thought he was the brightest and best of current tenors. But on last nights performance can only believe he was ill. He was barely audible at times ( and, no I wasn't sitting at the back of the Amphitheatre). Partly the problem may have been Giordano's orchestration which did no favours to the singers with the scoring and dynamics masking the vocal line, partly I felt it was an unsympathetic performance from Tony Pappano, who must have realised that Kaufmannn was struggling to make himself heard and should have reduced the volume from the pit. As it was the orchestral noise drowned out the tenor who sank without trace. Good performances from Westbroek and Lucic and from many of the other singers but what a disappointment in Kaufmann. I think the perfunctory applause at the end plus one single curtain call for the leads said it all.

  24. Bill worley responded on 27 January 2015 at 4:04pm Reply

    I am glad I was not the only one underwhelmed. Great production without gimmicks and the Royal Opera House is to be congratulated for that. I was however disappointed by Kaufmann and Westbrook. Both sang well but agree that there was no tension in the drama. I remember Carrerras/Plowright in 1983 and Domingo and Tomowa-Sintow in 1985. Both those performances were very exciting. There were fab performances from the comprimaro characters - Brava particularly to Rosalind Plowright and Elena Zilio who was very moving as Madelon

  25. James Gordon responded on 27 January 2015 at 5:12pm Reply

    Not for the first time (I'm thinking of Giorgio Zancanaro alongside Domingo 30 years ago), Nemico della patria was the highlight of the evening, attested by the spontaneity and length of the ensuing applause. Gérard is a gift part for a singing actor and Lucic makes the most of it. By comparison, the titular hero is a 2-dimensional figure who barely develops over the course of the opera and merely has to emote, hence the comments above about Corelli. Chénier’s milieu is that of the outsider in an aristocratic salon. He is a Werther lookalike who cannot adjust to the heady chaos of the Revolution and is ultimately destroyed by it – hence, brilliantly, he is the only one still wearing his Act 1 costume in Act 2. Kaufmann’s is simply not a large voice, but he has infinite shades of colour. Last night I too felt his performance never caught fire until the final duet. However, sensitively accompanied as he was, he was always audible – and I was sitting at the back of the Amphitheatre. Indeed, there were far more chamber-like textures and less sheer volume than I recalled in the otrchestral writing. Westbroek had some wonderful moments but overall seemed miscast, lacking genuine Italianate line. She too only achieved transcendence at the end. Or is that perhaps the point?

    Thankfully, this production was conceived before recent events in Paris, and anyway McVicar is too good a director to be distracted by gimmicky topical references. Instead, he simply lets the drama speak for itself, leaving any modern parallels implicit. There has been much recent talk in the media about French “secularism”. The word rendered thus is laïcité – not really secularism, so much as anticlericalism, only formulated as a positive ideal rather than the negative one implied by the English anti-. (Chénier in Act 1: La un prete nelle nicchie dei santi/ e della Vergine accumulava doni…) The dramatic irony, as Gérard comes to realise, is that the nouveaux-priests of the Revolution behave no differently from their Ancien Régime counterparts, soliciting gifts before the altar of Marat and pontificating in fancy dress in the Committee of Public Safety.

    It’s not often nowadays that we see the red ROH curtain at the start of a new production. As usual with McVicar, this is for a purpose, inviting us into the theatrical fantasy of a rococo world which will not outlast the first act. From then on, we see instead a bloodstained tricolour drop, on which the well-meant verbosity of the Contrat Social fades beneath the cutting, art-denying cynicism of the Word according to Robespierre. From which, finally, there is only one way out. A pity that the surtitles reduced the lovers’ sublimely paradoxical last cry to a banal platitude before the red curtain fell once more.

    • Catherine responded on 27 January 2015 at 10:21pm

      My french is as good as my english and I have to say that Andrea Chenier is not an easy libretto for a non french speaker. A reference to "Toussaint Louverture" has probably passed unoticed when it is such an important piece of history , a testimony of the betrayals and disappointments that the revolution bred.
      Reading a good translation of the libretto beforehand and getting information on some historical references mentioned in the opera would help a lot to appreciate fully this piece .

  26. Juan Antonio Munoz responded on 27 January 2015 at 7:47pm Reply

    Jonas Kaufmann, the best Chénier ever !

    It seems that everything is linked together and that facts are a web woven in an arcane manner. When the world is still shaken by the events of Paris in recent weeks which left liberties suspended or at least questioned, across the Channel in London, the Opera House in Covent Garden premiered on Tuesday 20th a new production of Umberto Giordano’s “Andrea Chénier” (1896), which shows how the French Revolution ended up by devouring its own children and its ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity still do not materialize.
    Indeed, very often the dreams that inflame men end up by losing them. The poet Chénier (1762-1794) joined the Revolution, but then when the Reign of Terror began, he strongly opposed it and was finally led before a popular assembly which, deaf to reason and emphatic in its resentment and vengeance, sentenced him to death.
    Giordano and his librettist, the very Puccinian Luigi Illica, tell a love story, but with a lot of episodes of the Revolution and the music evokes an era where gavottes from elegant salons are contrasted with the songs that inspired the uprising from the streets, such as the “Carmagnole” and the “Marseillaise”. A passionate drama with political intrigue, the opera expresses the disappointment felt over everything that was betrayed.
    A strong image, especially these days, initials that state of horror and bewilderment: David McVicar’s production divides the acts with a big flag of France where the thoughts, deceitful or frustrated, of Robespierre about freedom are written. Freedom which the protagonists, Chénier and his beloved Maddalena di Coigny, only obtain through death, victims of the Jacobin demagogy which could not bear that its bloody methods of social control should be questioned.
    McVicar, to whom the Royal Opera House owes some of its best shows in recent years (“Adriana Lecouvreur” and “The Trojans”, among others), opted for a traditional production and paid special attention to developing the characters, from the last citizen to the protagonist poet. Every human being on the scene has something to say in dramatic terms: the anger of the uprising, the fear of the children, the resignation of the accused, the stubbornness of the judges, the felony of the “Incroyables” (spies) and the “not spontaneous corruption” of the “merveilleuses” (prostitutes). Great theater, naturally, as is only possible in London, as well as luxurious and splendidly clothed.
    On the podium, leading the impressive sound machine that is the orchestra of this house is maestro Antonio Pappano, probably the best conductor of Italian opera alive on earth, who managed to convey at all times the passion of this music and the bond between the beauty of the melodies and Chenier’s melancholic soul. The duet from the last act was truly an apotheosis.
    The cast reached another summit. The extraordinary and well-remembered Rosalind Plowright plays here the part of the Countess di Coigny, who only sings in the first act; needless to say, her portrait is hard to match. An ancient voice from the Scala in Milan, the most remarkable mezzo Elena Zilio, was the “vecchia Madelon”, who, blind and about to die, delivers her grandson, the last drop of her blood, to the Revolution. Denyce Graves, a once famous and ribald “Carmen”, was Bersi, the faithful servant who helps Maddalena.
    The protagonists capped a show that was perfect in many ways. Baritone Zeljko Lucic, who insists in considering himself a Verdian singer, resumes here a repertoire for which he is much better fitted. A solid Carlo Gérard knew how to embody the force that precipitates the plot. Often careless as an actor, Lucic was on this occasion subtle when describing the double transit of his character: the subordinate who becomes a revolutionary leader and the man who makes a perverse use of power and then reconsiders and gives in to better feelings. Soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek gave herself in body and soul to her role and used her powerful instrument to give life to the verb, the Word, crucial in this opera where the recitatives are the central structure. She looked very beautiful on stage.
    Jonas Kaufmann dazzled with his creation. It seemed as if he had sung the title role hundreds of times, and yet he was making his debut in it. With total stage and vocal control, overwhelming in the beauty of the sound and a radical understanding of the poetic meaning of that sound, his voice shining through the entire range and dripping emotion with each phrase, his Andrea Chénier almost brought down the house. An actor of overflowing imaginative flight, he gradually opened up the possibilities of this character, thus building a dramatic entity that is first moved by arrogance, then by irresponsibility and recklessness and later on by love and heroic virtues. All of this was naturally expressed through a song in which strength and impact are only part of a kaleidoscope of nuances to denote desire, doubt, fear or courage; his “Come un bel dì di Maggio”, the hardest page of the opera, was simply perfect. Just as with his Werther, Lohengrin, Don José, Des Grieux, Florestan and Don Carlo, it will be difficult for the great theaters of the world to settle for another Chénier.

    • I would like to know what are Juan's credentials? The review is well written.
      Other reviews by some leading critics / reviewers differ greatly from his.I wish I knew who should be believed!

  27. Catherine writes above Andre Chenier is not an easy libretto for a non-French speaker!
    Please understand I mean no harm but I have never seen a French libretto only Italian librettos for Andre Chenier. Otherwise I totally agree with Catherine.

    • catherine responded on 30 January 2015 at 12:40pm

      Yes you're right! well done for picking that up. My apologies. I guess I hear Italian without thinking it is foreign ;-)

  28. Ditlev responded on 30 January 2015 at 9:08am Reply

    A fabulous show! Thank you!

  29. Offerlé responded on 30 January 2015 at 10:06am Reply

    j'ai passé un soirée magnifique au cinéma hier soir
    Jonas kaufmann magnifique dans ce rôle
    belle mise en scène

  30. catherine responded on 30 January 2015 at 12:55pm Reply

    I saw Andrea Chenier again yesterday. This time in the cinema. Although I am delighted to have had that opportunity I have to say that it did tastes a bit like canned food. Not exactly like the real thing. Zeljko Lucic 's interpretation was absolutely magnificent in the House and it was not given justice in the cinema. Close-ups on artists sound odd when some other plans are from afar. The brain expects to hear louder in a close-up than it does from a general take of the whole stage. Discrepancies like these are disturbing and even up all the voices in relation to volume. It is not fair to some artists and it removes quite a lot of the emotional intensity.

    • I really would like to know which is your favourite recording of Andre Chenier.
      I have not seen the ROH show but I did listen to BBC Radio 3 where the performance is available on BBC iplayer for the next month.

  31. James Gordon responded on 30 January 2015 at 10:41pm Reply

    I saw this again last night in the cinema in Inverness, 3 days after attending a live performance. Amazing what technological wizardry can do - all the singers always loud and clear, almost too much so at times. And I was mistaken on Monday about Kaufmann wearing the same costume on Acts 1 and 2 - one blue jacket looks much like another from the back of the Amphitheatre!

    Did the singers raise their game still further last night? It often seemed like it and the live audience responded accordingly with applause in places where there was none on Monday. Lucic excelled again in Act 3 and the scene between Gérard and Maddalena was riveting - as it should be, but was not on Monday. The secondary roles benefited too, all of them already imagined in cinematic detail on the stage. I will mention only Elena Zilio, who managed to be affecting without lapsing into mawkishness.

    I read Juan Munoz's eulogy of Kaufmann with interest. Yes, I see that this is what Kaufmann is trying to do with the part, but for me, for all his artistry, he doesn't do it. The fault lies not with him (I found his Des Grieux compellingly, even frighteningly believable) but with the piece.

  32. Rackon responded on 31 January 2015 at 12:52am Reply

    William, Mr. Munoz is an editor and writer for the Chilean daily newspaper El Mercurio. BTW, I have seen/heard both Corelli and Kaufmann live (in the same theater as it happens) and although they are both great singers, they are nothing alike. Kaufmann's voice is not as large or brilliant as Corelli's, but it is just as beautiful, if darker and smaller in scale (by which I do not mean to say his voice is "small" - it is *not* a small voice). Kaufmann brings a different set of virtues to his roles - variety of tonal color, subtlety, sensitivity to text, dramatic insight, nuance. I will see the Chenier HD in the US in February, but I will hazard a guess that JK portrayed AC as a sensitive outsider, whose passions are only fully unleashed in the final 2 acts.

    • lizbie responded on 2 February 2015 at 4:09pm

      You are correct about Kaufmann's interpretation of the part as a sensitive outsider: indeed, that is what the real-life Chenier was said to have been like.

  33. Paz responded on 1 February 2015 at 4:41pm Reply

    Thank you,Mc Vicar!!! And Jonas Kaufmann, the best Chenier!!

  34. Hiroko Sato responded on 4 February 2015 at 7:46am Reply

    I saw performances on January 26, 29 and 31 and I thought that Kaufmann was at his best on 31. I think he created a new Chenier based on his own interpretation of the character, and he really succeeded in the effort. Reading all these comments, I noticed that many people pass judgements on Kaufmann's performance by comparing him with the singers of the past. I wonder if there is any other standard in the appreciation of opera?

  35. John M. responded on 4 February 2015 at 11:51am Reply

    A wonderful evening at CG last evening! How good to have a staging which allowed the plot and the music to tell their own story. How good not to be treated as less clever than the director. How good to have a director who is not so arrogant as to believe that he knows what the work is really about despite what the composer might have thought. Once again, I found Jonas Kaufmann utterly compelling; he is one of those artists who make you watch their every move, every gesture. His interpretation was full of telling details, his facial expressions and body language catching the character's emotions, just as his Don Carlo does. His singing is equally nuanced and he uses his voice to serve the music and not just because he can. Similarly, I found Ms Westbroek equally convincing and moving, vocally in complete command and digging deep into the character, likewise Lucic. I did not find the balance between orchestra and stage ideal, though I was sitting in the side stalls circle so that might explain that. A great success for all concerned and the RO should be justly proud. Who knows, there might be something to be gleaned from this.

  36. Csaba Tarnai responded on 4 February 2015 at 10:18pm Reply

    (Newbie to this forum pls don't flame me)
    Jonas Kaufman is heralded as the greatest tenor of our times. Hmm seems a bit too much marketing great voice, but no quite the presence I expected. Eva Maria Westbroek was a great surprise: her mamma e morta is at par with the gold standard set by Maria Callas.

    As for this opera: Giordano is a contemporary of Puccini and libretto is from Illica. Yet the mix of Tosca love triangle and Aida ending is not convincing.

    However I enjoyed a great night out and ROH proves to be in the top5 of global opera houses

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 5 February 2015 at 12:27pm

      Welcome, Csaba, no flaming here!

      Ellen

  37. jean vaughan responded on 5 February 2015 at 5:17pm Reply

    I loved every minute of it.

  38. John Rose responded on 7 February 2015 at 12:40pm Reply

    A wonderful evening in every way. Full marks to all concerned but especially to Pappano. Has the ROH ever had a musical director equally at home in Mozart,Wagner Verdi, versimo and 20/21st century stuff?
    The orchestra play like angels for him and it is he who "drives" the whole show.

  39. Ann O'Shaughnessy responded on 11 February 2015 at 2:29pm Reply

    Having been disappointed by so many productions over the past year I had decided to cancel my friends subscription. Then I saw Andrea Chenier - for my taste the most perfect production I have seen in years. No gimmicks. Real sets! Proper costumes! Stellar cast! Orchestra and Chorus at their peak. And Pappano - what can I say? I am renewing and upgrading - I really don't want to miss out on my favourite seat in case ROH can maintain anything like this standard.

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