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Alfredo Pascu in... his fifteenth year of career

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 , ora 9.49
Undoubtedly, tenor Alfredo Pascu has been the light opera 'en titre' singer of Romanian operetta for many years including The National Operetta Theatre - taking the "lead" from Nae Leonard, Ion Dacian and Dorin Teodorescu - a name he has made for himself due to his excellent voice quality, elegant and natural stage presence and irrezistible charisma in most of his roles in this music genre; both music lovers and his fans dashing into the operetta hall to watch his once frequent performances, but so scarce now from apparently unknown reasons. In fact, it is really amazing that he was the great absent at the "tenors concert" dedicated to Ion Dacian's hundredth anniversary, other soloists being invited although they did not have even the least aforementioned qualities.

The great absent soloist at the "tenors concert", celebrated during the festival

As a counter balance, possibly, at this fourth edition of the Festival "Life is beautiful!", he was granted a whole evening during which, while celebrating 15 years of artistic career on that stage, he tried to fill his devoted audience with the joy of listening to several representative music pieces dear to his heart. Accompanied by the orchestra and choir of the Operetta, Lucian Vlădescu being the conductor, Alfredo Pascu sang arias from The Land of Smiles, The Bird Seller, The Gypsy Baron, Let me Sing, Countess Mariza and Lysistrata, that were delightful due to his rich timbre completed by generous high notes even if - due to the state of nervousness, probably - he preserved his serious attitude that lacked his personal charm that has always conquered us and for which smile and liveliness play an important role, giving him that radiance we have got accustomed to for a decade and a half.

We were expecting to see some "fireworks", but instead we listened to a mature tenor, preoccupied with his singing and equally "serious" when voicing his arias to the audience; by choosing the mezza-voce interpretation for the final aria (from The Land of Smiles) he brought a more discreet tone to the end of the anniversary concert celebration. Slightly amazed, the ones who both love and appreciate him for his operetta repertoire as much as the opera one, applauded and cheered him sincerely hoping to see him again and more often during this operetta and opera season.

The orchestra chose to play the ouverture to the aforementioned score by Lehar, then the one to Gherase Dendrino's operetta as well as the famous Meditation from Thais by Massenet - beautiful but misplaced - while the choir interpreted energetically pieces both from The Bird Seller and The Gypsy Baron.

A portrait drawn with warmth and affection

At the beginning of the evening, Răzvan Dincă, general manager of the National Operetta Theatre, praised the star-tenor whom soprano Daniela Vlădescu - both as a stage partener and general manager of the Opera and Ballet Theatre in Constanța - presented both with warmth and affection speaking equally about the man and the artist the way the audience of the operetta and those behind the scenes know him. Musicologist Viorel Cosma took the opportunity to take out "cue-cards" from his Lexicon full with information about Alfredo Pascu, but not only, he also included Leonard and even Ciprian Porumbescu.

Scenography imagined with lack of professionalism

The pictures projected onto the background screen during this concert - as it had also happened during the unsuccessful tenors concert - were not at all in tune with what was being sung on stage, the pieces from operas and operettas being jumbled with photos and unreeled (repetitively …at times) in an improvised even hilarious manner because the filmed pieces taken from the National Television had subtitles containing the title of one piece (including the partner at times) while on stage … a totally different piece was being interpreted!… On the other hand, the improvisation was hardly characterised by professionalism, either partially containing written details or none at all, the lack of unity and thought being easily noticeable. What is more, not even the way in which the pages presenting the concert programme were displayed "accurately" on the prompters set up at the sides of the stage, some of them containing too many details while some others, none at all…

The National Operetta Theatre has finally honoured its most important tenor the way he fully deserves. Even if we were expecting a memorable evening with "explosive bursts" both on stage and in the operetta hall, Alfredo Pascu presented a carefully tuned up performance, seriously planned from the artistic point of view, but slightly disappointing to those who were hoping to see his unmistakable smile even in the end. This might happen during his next concert…

Anca Florea
Translated by Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, Bucharest University