Last night at Teatro Regio di Torino premiered Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.
Torino-bred director Davide Livermore made his high-profile Regio premiere in a production that will be attended by President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano in a special performance tomorrow night (also to be streamed live by Rai-Radio3 and later turned into a DVD)
Verdi's 1855 grand opera -- modified, translated, and censored throughout the years -- and its patriotic overtones makes a good match for Italy's March 17 holiday about solidarity and unity and Livermore's painterly qualities brings out the passion of the two lovers.
Spoke Noseda to Io Donna about Verdi's work: "I Vespri is an opera of transition. Verdi was looking for a new style, different than that heard in Rigoletto, Traviata, and Trovatore. In Vepri, he experimented with lots of different elements. For example, the rapport between father and son, that finds a form completed by his previous operas. Despite the heroic dimensions, there wasn't a particular weight, the political events are reflected in the characters such as Elena and Giovanni da Procida."
Gianandrea Noseda conducts Sondra Radvanovsky (who we just saw here in Milan as a stellar Tosca) stars as Elena, Gergory Kunde as Arrigo, Ildar Abdrazakov as Giovanni da Procida, and Franco Vassallo as Guido di Monforte.