Arnaud Bernard brings to the Arena a Nabucco inspired by the Risorgimento
20 April 2017 Share

Arnaud Bernard brings to the Arena a Nabucco inspired by the Risorgimento

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The french director transforms into reality the patriotic message of the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, With more than 200 performances this opera is a colossal for the season of the Arena –

The 95th edition of the Opera Festival 2017 of the Arena of Verona will start on Friday 23rd of June with Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi. It is scheduled for 12 evenings up to the 26th of August. The opera is based on Temistocle Solera’s libretto whilst the direction and costumes and finally the scenes are going to be staged respectively by Arnaud Bernard and Alessandro Camera. Jordi Bernàcer is going to debut in the Arena of Verona by sharing the direction of the orchestra with Daniel Oren.

Bernard sees a connection with the conflict between Babylon and Jerusalem and the Italian Risorgimento (1848 to 1860). It is thanks to this interpretation suggested by the music and the libretto that Nabucco has become a patriotic symbol. Va’, pensiero represents the raised flag of the national liberation.

Bernard through this interpretations wants to give to the opera a more historical, human and credible meaning. In fact, in the second act, Nabucco instead of being hit by a divine lightning is attacked by armed revolutionaries and Va’, pensiero is sang behind the barricades by the soldiers who survived the battle. The whole scene reproduces recognisable settings, such as a famous theatre, the parvis of a cathedral, a semi abandoned bastion and the sitting room of a noble building. The director explains that the performance must appear as if it were a snapshot of a specific historical period: «The action takes place at the Teatro alla Scala during the actual staging of Nabucco. This highlights how Verdi’s opera and music can get people carried away more than by a thousand proclamations». He also specifies that « without a doubt, the soundtrack of this historical period is Italian melodrama and most of all Giuseppe Verdi’s operas. »

Nabucco also ties its story to Verona: the third edition of the opera by Busseto is set for the first time in one of the theatres of the city, the Filarmonico, in 1844. This took place two years after the debut in Milan, with the supervision of Verdi himself. Carlo Sampietro was the director and the two main voices were of Filippo Collini and Giuseppina Strepponi.

Nabucco with more than 200 performances held in the Arena, is the colossal of the amphitheatre season: it is third by number of staged shows after Aida and Carmen. The opera, after its first appearance in 1938 is included in the schedule of 21 Festivals and staged in 10 different settings. The title speaks for a young, passionate and politically involved Verdi who wants to make a difference in the musical field. The chorus of the Arena also plays an important role, thanks to its incredible performance of Va’ pensiero. Many famous artist took part in several editions of this opera, but the following can’t go without being mentioned: Gianandrea Gavazzeni, orchestra director in 1962, Sandro Bolchi, director in 1971, Ghena Dimitrova as Abigaille, Renato BrusonLeo Nucci and Plácido Domingo as the main character.

This year’s edition in the Arena of Verona will feature great interpreters of Verdi: George Gagnidze is going to be the main character of Nabucco on the premier and the two following nights; Leonardo Lòpez LinaresBoris Statsenko and Sebastian Catana are going to take the lead the following evenings. Tatiana MelnychenkoAnna PirozziSusanna Branchini and Rebeka Lokar are going to interpret Abigaille. Zaccaria is going to be performed by Stanislav TrofimovRafał Siwek and In-Sung Sim. Fenena by Carmen TopciuAnna Malavasi and Nino Surguladze. Ismaele by Walter Fraccaro,  Mikheil Sheshaberidze and Rubens Pelizzari. To complete the cast will be Romano Dal Zovo and Nicolò Ceriani as the Great Minister di Belo, Paolo Antognetti and Cristiano Olivieri as Abdallo and last but not least Madina Karbeli and Elena Borin as Anna. The opera will involve the Orchestra and Chorus prepared by M° Vito Lombardi and the technical specialists and background actors of the Arena of Verona.

The dates of the performances are: 29th of June at 21:00- 7th, 12th, 15th and 18th of July at 21:00- 4th, 9th, 12th, 18th, 23rd and 26th of August at 20:45.

Direction: Daniel Oren (23, 29/6 – 7/7 – 4, 9, 12, 18, 23, 26/8); Jordi Bernàcer (12, 15, 18/7).
Nabucco: George Gagnidze (23, 29/6 – 7/7); Leonardo Lòpez Linares (12, 15, 18/7 – 4/8); Boris Statsenko (9, 12, 18/8).
Abigaille: Tatiana Melnychenko (23, 29/6 – 7/7); Anna Pirozzi (4, 9, 12/8); Susanna Branchini (18, 23, 26/8); Rebeka Lokar (12, 15, 18/7).
Zaccaria: Stanislav Trofimov (23, 29/6 – 7/7 – 23, 26/8); Rafał Siwek (12, 15, 18/7); In-Sung Sim (4, 9, 12, 18/8).
Fenena: Carmen Topciu (23, 29/6 – 7, 12/7 – 4/8), Anna Malavasi (15, 18/7), Nino Surguladze (9, 12, 18, 23, 26/8).
Ismaele: Walter Fraccaro (23, 29/6 – 7/7), Mikheil Sheshaberidze (12, 15, 18/7 – 4, 9/8), Rubens Pelizzari (12, 18, 23, 26/8).
Gran Sacerdote di Belo: Romano Dal Zovo (23, 29/6 – 7, 12, 15, 18/7), Nicolò Ceriani (4, 9, 12, 18, 23, 26/8).
Abdallo: Paolo Antognetti (23, 29/6 – 7/7 – 18, 23, 26/8), Cristiano Olivieri (12, 15, 18/7 – 4, 9, 12/8);
Anna: Madina Karbeli (23, 29/6 – 7, 12, 15, 18/7 – 4/8), Elena Borin (9, 12, 18, 23, 26/8).

Phhoto on the top: Giuliano Polo, supervisor of Fondazione Arena, with the Director Arnaud Bernard

Translated by Francesca Dunning

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