Although OC would have much rather been partying all nite loooong with her fellow interisti, she's glad she made it to la Scala this evening for opening night of the Dallapiccola & Béla Bartók double-header.
It's always a delight -- che soave zeffiretto -- when eeel maystrau Harding shows up in Milan, our gentle little Zephyr, to blow his gentle breezes around the stuffy theater.
A cold, scary, and lugubrious Luigi Dallapiccola's Il Prigioniero was stuffed full of brassy and jarring metallic tones. Raw and exposed nerves were threaded through the score -- although a lighter, crystalline approach could have worked equally as well, as we'll explain tomorrow in the full review. Dark but rotating sets peppered director Ferdinand Wögerbauer's vision of the chilling tale, and Vito Priante's diapered performance was balls-out. It was sw8, from the chorus that paraded past the action to il grande inquisitore, tenor Kim Begley, a nightmarish terror looming over the others on stilts.
Infractions were committed by the orchestra, that really didn't wear Dallapiccola (btw in Italian Dallapiccola means literally "By the little one", ymmv) comfortably -- as it is sometimes the case here, too many professori d'orchestra are long on arrogance, short on the ability to deliver the goods -- everything was regained fully for Béla Bartók's Il castello del duca Barbablù...a textured and tight reading with a Strauss-inspired coating, delicate and subtle without being emasculated. Elena's Zhidkova's Judit was excellent both in acting and technique.
An entertaining detraction from the evening was a cranky loggionisti who shouted a message after the first pause into the absolute silence of the darkened theater, waiting for Maestro Harding to make his reappearance.
After an interminable pause that lasted like an hour, a lone voice rang out from Galleria 2, "L'intervallo e' stato troppo lungo". ("The intermission was too long!") ha ha omg. i would have done it myself, but my larynx is too short to do this (2 inch cubic). A moment of disbelief, and the theater broke-out in spontaneous applause of support. omg anarchy @ the theater! mutiny!
the evening ended with a few rounds of curtain calls, and Harding sustaining a nice round of cheers from the satisfied audience. More tomorrow. If u can stand it!