Opera Review: Verdi's Luisa Miller
Israel Opera, The Opera House, January 3.
The Boris Eifman Ballet performs Don Quixote. Photo: Courtesy
Verdi’s Luisa Miller, a seldom performed work, was presented by the Israeli
Opera as a first performance in the country.
Largely forgotten as it
justifiably is, it proved that Verdi’s severest competitor is Verdi himself,
since most of his other works put this opera in their formidable shadow. There
are, indeed, plenty of intrigues and a tragic love affair, as implied in the
title Intrigue and Love of Schiller's play on which the opera is based. But
these effective ingredients for making an opera attractive to an audience are
here more inextricable than can be easily digestible, and the many corpses
strewn all over the stage at the unhappy end are not exactly
A well-sharpened red pencil for deleting some of the more
confusing and superfluous passages might have rendered a good service to the
always self-critical Verdi. Moreover, unlike most other Verdi’s operas, this
work contains no hit-song tune one could hum on the way home, such as, say, “La
donna e mobile” in Rigoletto, the “Drinking Song” in La Traviata, or “Celeste
The performance’s main hero was the Symphony Orchestra Rishon
LeZion, conducted by Daniel Oren. A rich, full, well-consolidated, perfectly
balanced sound and clearly profiled abundant instrumental tone colors
contributed support to the singers without overshadowing their voices, conveyed
the plot’s emotional moods, emphasized the dramatic happenings, and created the
Among the singers, the male characters were
particularly outstanding. As Wurm, Carlo Striuli’s dark-timbred bassbaritone
sounded as evil as this repulsive type is supposed to be. Ionut Pascu’s
baritone, as Miller, was warm and friendly.
Walter’s sinister character
was personified convincingly by Roberto Scandiuzzi’s dark and assertive bass.
Massimiliano Pisapia’s emotionally charged bright tenor represented a credible
In the role of Luisa, Leah Crocetto’s soprano intensely conveyed
her innocent and gentle personality, but became strained and shrill on the
higher notes when expressing profound emotions.
direction seemed unable to make up its mind whether to appear minimalist or
realistic. Background curtains frequently went up and down without any apparent
A wheelchair as a simplistic attempt at demonstrating modernity
in an otherwise conventional environment was ridiculous instead of compassion-