Simon Boccanegra in St.Petersburg: after the premiere in short. Mariinsky Theater turned a new page in its history: on February 5 Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra was staged for the first time in St.Petersburg. The driving force of the premiere was Valery Gergiev by all means: as an artistic lead of the Company and a musical director at the pit conducting brilliantly. The guest star of the premiere became legendary bass Ferruccio Furlanetto. The production of Andrea de Rosa (direction and sets) came from Venice (La Fenice) and Genova (Carlo Felice) theaters, which gave it some authentic Mediterranean flow. Besides the sea, skies and air of Repubblica Marinara was presented at the background, showing the sea, the clouds, the light of the Ligurian shores, visually giving Verdi’s dark masterpiece some nature beauty and worked beautifully. In the whole the production was true to the spirit of Verdi and in a modern way very simple. The dark construction on the stage with the gothic windows added to the atmosphere.
Barcelona and Milan, two bastions of opera. A couple of weeks ago, the passion for opera was relived once again in two European theaters of great tradition, Barcelona’s Liceu and Milan’s La Scala. In the Catalonian city, the presence of Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez singing his first Edgardo Ravenswood, the unhappy lover of Lucia di Lammermoor, was awaited with huge expectations and made the prices of the already expensive tickets soar to unheard heights. In the Lombard capital, the opening of the season, traditionally on December 7, always constitutes a national socio-cultural event, with an audience filled of politicians, members of the diplomatic corps and of the social elite and personalities of the world of the arts and fashion; these distinguished guests occupy most of the places in the beautifully renovated auditorium and leave little room for the “real opera fanatics”, who are seated—and heard--in the two upper galleries. Here too, it was harder than ever to get a ticket, given the fact that the opera to be performed, Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco, was revived after an absence of 150 years and, no less important, that the protagonist would be the much admired Anna Netrebko. In both cities the events were highly publicized and an electric atmosphere of anticipation invaded the air.