, August 2012
The very opening of the first scene of Act 1 sets the tone. No-one dashes about and everyone moves in the stateliest manner: the courtiers even play darts, it seems, in slow motion. Any rushing around the stage would have been rendered very difficult by the superbly elaborate costumes that everyone wears.
Carrying on for the moment with this production’s appearance - which is one of its most striking features - Act 1, scene 2 goes on to boast a beautifully-lit night-time set of the castle terrace. The real triumph of stage design, particularly when seen on a large HD television set, comes in Act 2 where the breathtakingly vivid colour palette utilised for the inventive heraldic designs simply dazzles the eye to pleasurable distraction.
The dancing that takes place within these wonderful settings is undeniably of a very high quality.
The corps de ballet is pretty large…A large body of children throw themselves enthusiastically into the performance: the girls shine in the Valse fantastique that follows the Grand adagio, while the boys provide more than a few jolly moments with coconut shells (?) strapped to their thighs for percussive effects in Act 2’s Grand divertissement. All the adults and children add considerably to the colourful production and, towards the end of the third Act, the lively Coda and Galop final are both enjoyable romps that are especially well executed.
The Teatro alla Scala orchestra, under the experienced direction of Michail Jurowski, plays with consummate skill and feeling for the music. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review