, April 2013
Francesco Calcagnini’s set and costume designs breathe somber tones of muted grays and realistically aged Gothic columns adding unmatched clairvoyance of Protestant Puritanism alongside splays of Guy Montavon’s poignant staging and prophetic lighting. The bracketing of blocking, shadowing, toning and coloring is exceedingly well done.
Seven principals encircling Stiffelio move the plot forward with dramatic tension that is consuming from beginning to end. The lighter edged tenor Roberto Aronica convinces us of Stiffelio’s unabashed, ecclesiastical loyalties. Lina, sung by Yu Guanqun, is charismatically bold, driven with a confident soprano delivery that is stalwart and assured. Roberto Fronteli’s Stankar is likely to receive the strongest accolades, especially after his impassioned aria, “Ah sì finisca…Oh gioia inesprimibile” in Act III.
Perhaps overlooked in general operatic channels, Stiffelio is riveting, compelling and magnificently stiffened with an exacerbated edge. Guy Montavon’s recalculation of Giuseppe Verdi’s drama lirico has substance and depth definitely worth exploring. © 2013 ConcertoNet.com Read complete review