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A World Premiere at the Iași Opera

Friday, 25 April 2014 , ora 10.19
The constant desire of manager Beatrice Rancea, to host unprecedented events on the Iași Opera stage, having worldwide famous guests, was clearly shown during the last few days with the organization of a new event named Operfado - a world premiere - which was a concert where the Lusitanian songs with their unique poetry are combined with opera arias. The concert was held by Portuguese artists together with Elena Moșuc, who had the opportunity, due to this event, to return to her birth place and delight the music lovers with a slightly different repertoire than the one she was accustomed to in the opera world.

The repertoire was divided in two different musical registers; it opened with several love songs that were nostalgic and charming, others were melancholic and sentimental and some of them were filled with passion. These songs were performed by Gonçalo Salgueiro, whose pleasant tenor voice, full of coloratura and intonation, had a special and impressive effect, winning the admiration of the audience, who had the chance to rediscover that evening the wonderful feeling they had experienced years ago, during Amália Rodrigues` unforgettable concerts, the artist being evoked even during the evening's concert by the soloist. In fact, he actually performed some of her songs as well as some of his own and songs that had a visible folkloric influence. During the concert, the lyrics were screened in Portugueseor in Romanian, an inspired and appreciated idea, thanks to Mihaela Cernăuți-Gorodețchi. I listened to Naufrágio, Amor d'uma Só Hora, Meia Noite e uma Guitarra, Disse-te adeus e morri, Calunga, Como Chuva em Agost, Solidão, Canta Coração, Coimbra, Lágrima, Estranha forma de vida plus many other songs and the charismatic singer encouraged the audience, that filled up the concert hall, to sing along the chorus of the song Cheira a Lisboa, which was not very complicated and they gladly accepted the challenge. But Gonçalo Salgueiro was highly appreciated for the few Romanian words he uttered and for the performance of our beloved song Ciobănaș cu trei sute de oi, which he obviously rendered in the original language. The audience`s visible rapture gave the soloist - who had been recommended by Elena Moșuc - a well deserved satisfaction. Elena Moșuc named him the best Fado singer of our time and in return, the artist underlined how honoured he was to be able to perform some of the musical works together with our artist, `who is a forefront artist known throughout the world`. This event was a premiere for the soprano because she tried to sing Fado while keeping the opera structure and style of performing. The artists used microphones, although I think it was not necessary and had a very nice and relaxed communication with the skilful instrumentalists, as well - who were Portuguese natives: Guilherme Banza (Portuguese guitar), Rogerio Ferreira (classical guitar), Frederico Gato (base guitar) who also got a big round of applause during the excitement that dominated the stage and the entire concert hall for over an hour.

After the pause, the musical register changed completely: the orchestra and the choir, under the baton of the conductor Gabriel Bebeșelea, performed opera music while Elena Moșuc rendered arias that she had sung during some concerts in Bucharest, showing her present affinity for spinto soprano repertoire, but also her passion (or more correctly said her expertise) in bel-canto, choosing roles of tragic heroines from the Italian operas. I listened once more to the aria and cabaletta from Bellini`s Norma, Puccini` s Tosca, the tragic aria in the last act from Giuseppe Verdi`s the Troubadour, continuing with Miserere which she sang accompanied by the male choir (their voices not being very balanced) and alongwith the extremely talented tenor singer Florin Guzgă; afterwards she performed the demanding aria and the `Mad Scene` from Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti. Although the musical works were extremely different, they had in common the rich coloratura, the high notes, too many pianissimo notes, the portamentos and the large pitches on high notes which were sometimes transformed, introducing modifications in Leonora's aria as well, even though, one is not allowed to make such alterations in Verdi`s work; and one was surprised to hear in Lucia a prolonged pitch of a high note, but the soprano solved the problem by performing very accurately the part with the flute and she turned towards the instrumentalist so she could direct his movements through her eyes, because she wished to avoid any wrong pitching of the notes.

The orchestra, which played firmly and beautifully, also proposed Intermezzi from Puccini`s Manon Lescaut, or from the Rustic Chivalry by Mascagni, combining soloist music with choir music just so they could end the concert with a grand finale: the soprano Elena Moșuc and the tenor Gonçalo Salgueiro performed the suite from the Phantom of the Opera by Lloyd Webber, the duet being such a huge success, that they received a frenetic round of applause. Therefore, after that evening's concert, Elena Moșuc proved her virtuosity and stamina, making her debut in musicals and as a Fado singer - Hopefully, we will see more of these combinations in her repertoires - the opera music remaining the core element in her performances; but still, she tries to find new ways of expression, having visible tragic opera influences, somber interpretations that are more and more similar to the interpretations that made her famous worldwide, as the Queen of the Night or Gilda; the most visible proof being her roles as Mimi, Luisa Miller, Norma, Margareta or Lucrezia Borgia and also as Violeta Valery, Linda or Lucia.

At this four-hour world event, held at the Iași Opera, the audience listened to a mixture of opera music, Fado and musical performance in an unique and appealing combination. Special guests from Portugal attended the event and the theatrical ensemble was directed by a young conductor who was appreciated by everyone, but forefront was the soprano Elena Moșuc, who once again, at the end of the concert, late at night, signed autographs on her album for all those who admired her and had cheered and applauded her frenetically.
Anca Florea
Translated by Ana-Maria Florea and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, The University of Bucharest