(photo credit: )
Silly though the
plot of Gaetano Donizetti’s opera La Fille du Regiment (The Daughter of the
Regiment) is, it can be amusing and enjoyable if the direction is sparkling, the
acting witty and the singing excellent.
This indeed was the case in Act 2
of the Israeli Opera’s production.
Act 1, on the other hand, was such as
to encourage spectators to go home in the intermission, which many did. Emilio
Sagi’s direction was commonplace and did not get off the ground, Julio Galan’s
set was conventional, and the acting was conservative.
Among the singers,
the one who stole the show was Robert Macpherson in the role of Tonio. His
radiant lyric tenor and his capability to hold a significant note long enough to
make a strong impression made him a credible lover. It was not quite
understandable, though, why he should have fallen in love with Iride Martinez’s
soprano as Marie, who in Act 1 sounded thin, strained and unsteady on the high
notes. Her attempts at representing would-be French feminine charm were
artificial and lacked the characteristic nonchalance, lightheartedness and elan.
Her redeeming feature was brilliant coloraturas and genuine emotional expression
in her farewell aria.
Matters improved significantly in Act 2. The warmup
period of Act 1 seemed to have been overcome at long last, and the acting became
lively, unpredictable and as humorous as Donizetti undoubtedly intended.
Martinez’s voice sounded bright, clear and relaxed, her aria was convincingly
sorrowful, and her coquettish antics that in Act 2 required less subtlety than
in Act 1 were delivered more elegantly.
Monica Minarelli’s sonorous
mezzo-soprano, as the Marquise, displayed some healthy humor and rendered a
comic effect with “Kalaniot,” to much to the audience’s surprise – and certainly
Donizetti’s – surprise.
The Opera Choir was meticulously trained and
produced extremely fine nuances of dynamics.
Under conductor Alberto
Zedda’s baton, the Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion sounded well coordinated and
competently conveyed the required fun and military esprit de corps.