Norma by Bellini and Csilla Boross’s first time in Verona
24 April 2017
Roberto Tirapelle (39 articles)
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Norma by Bellini and Csilla Boross’s first time in Verona

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INTERVIEW– The Hungarian Soprano in Verona for one of the final shows of the season: « Verona’s setting has put together a cast and a team that delivers emotions that will echo throughout time» –

Norma by Vincenzo Bellini will debut on the 23rd of April in Verona’s Teatro Filarmonico. It is the fifth title to appear in the schedule of the Opera Season of 2016-2017. Norma is not Bellini’s most famous masterpiece; nonetheless, the Sicilian composer staged this opera for the first time at the Filarmonico in the winter of 1834. Other performances followed in 1837 and 1867. From 1923 to 1994 it has been performed in the Arena 28 times. It was with the winter season of 2004 that this opera was proposed again by the famous Argentinian director and scenographer Hugo de Ana. His suggestion was also supported by the Maestro Francesco Ivan Ciampa.

Soprano Csilla Boross and Francesca Sassu share the interpretation of Bellini’s heroine. It is Boross’s first time in Verona: « it is lovely to work in this city because one can actually feel the suspense before the show».

Misses Boross, given your Hungarian origins, would you mind giving us an insight on Hungarian musical schools?

«The Academy was at its peak when I studied there, however the historical events that followed had a negative influence also on music. At the time I had extraordinary teachers such as Gabriella Imre, Judit Németh and Ilona Tokody. I must say that as a pianist myself, I find that Hungary is the mother of pureness of sound thanks to its great artists and strong tradition. Studying music was hard due to the complexity of the different types of instruments we had to learn».

Now that you are here in Verona for you debut how are you finding the city and its theatres?

«I came to Verona many years ago for an audition, when I had just begun to perform as Abigaille. I find that Verona is a very special city, just like Rome. In fact, I often go back there. I enjoy working in Verona because one can actually feel the suspense before the show. I had the pleasure to meet incredibly talented artists and I find that the people who work in the theatre are all very professional. Norma is a very difficult opera, therefore we had to work very hard, and I myself had to rehearse for more than ten hours a day. However, the workload was lightened by the beautiful music I had the pleasure of studying».

You played Norma for the first time in Palermo in 2014: have you noticed any particular characteristics in the direction and staging here in Verona?

«Here the staging of both the direction and the music delivers emotions that will echo throughout time. The cast is incredible at performing in such way. Above all, everything is impregnated of a neoclassical style».

What kind of character is Norma from a musical point of view?

«In order to give you an idea I will compare this opera with La Traviata. Both of them can be divided into different parts based on the changing of emotion: in La Traviata you have an initial colorful lyric, a clear soprano interpretation and a dramatic ending. Norma can be divided into four parts based on how the concept of strength is personified: Abigaille who is strong and powerful, the Priestess who embodies the power of her status and the mother who is strong despite her grief. The fourth and final part represents the memory of a young girl who is light and free. In order to deliver all of these changes one must work a lot on the changes of the articulation of the voice. Needless to say that it is an incredibly difficult task to achieve, especially in my mother tongue language. It is exactly for this reason that it is such a delight to perform in Italy, the homeland of the “belcanto”: only here it is possible to live opera in all of its aspects».

I have noticed that despite your many interpretations, your favorite is Abigaille in the opera of Nabucco.

«It’s true: playing Abigaille has benefited me from a career point of view, therefore I am very grateful to this character. However, I feel I still have a lot to learn, and this is why I keep on playing this part. Her personality is very complex: one moment she is sweet and reachable, the other she isn’t because her body has changed. The research into this character is endless! Also, one must constantly study when performing Verdi’s operas in order to give them justice».

In 2013 you interpreted four different Verdi characters: Lucrezia Contarini, Amelia from a Masked Ball, Odabella and Amelia from Simon Boccanegra. Do you feel you are a Verdi’s singer?

«I have played 11 roles in different Verdi’s operas, including Gilda. I adore Verdi because his music is a true discipline. By performing his work one is constantly exercising and practicing, and the end result is beautiful».

Abigaille, Odabella, Aida and Norma are all strong heroines.

«Of course, however they all have a feminine essence that is vulnerable and cannot be but understood and accepted».

Roberto Tirapelle
Translated by Francesca Dunning

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Roberto Tirapelle

Roberto Tirapelle

Roberto Tirapelle, nato a Verona e laureato a Bologna, è un giornalista-pubblicista, critico cinematografico internazionale e studioso di musica. Collabora con la testata Mediartenews e svolge attività come addetto stampa presso importanti istituzioni veronesi. Ha scritto alcuni libri di cinema e musica. roberto.tirapelle@libero.it