Luisa Miller at Teatro Comunale di Bologna


by Bianca L. Nica
June 23, 2022



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Bologna, on June 3rd for the penultimate title of the 2022 Opera Season, Verdi’s Luisa Miller, tragic melodrama in three acts on a libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, based on Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love) by Friedrich Schiller, back on the stage of this theater after 30 years. It’s the story of three young people, in love, whose lives are ruined by the choices of their parents, with magnificent music which requires a proficient singing cast & deserves a mise en scène just as beautiful.

 The staging by marionanni (nickname of Mario Nanni) is more of a mise en espace based on light installations in which the artist is specialised, which transforms the new production of Teatro Comunale di Bologna kind of into a semi-staged performace. Not disturbing, nor interesting. There is almost no direction, but lots of free initiative in an orderly entering, positioning, interaction and exiting of the artists on the stage. Neither the costumes’ choice made sense to me: they varied from Luisa’s long white dress, to Federica’s ‘20-‘30 black evening gown, to Wurm’s dark cape with large hood. The only idea that was contoured was the symbolism of Walters scepte in the conflict between generations. One could have only focused on the beauty of the Verdian score. 

GREGORY KUNDE is a legends that doesn’t show his age (68 years old!). His voice’s squillo, range, articulation, phrasing, flexibility – it’s all there, well preserved in time, just as his charisma. Impressive his high C at the end of “L’ara o l’avello apprestami”. Therefore, his Rodolfo sounds young, as the score demands, and is a complex, authentic character, despite that the staging doesn’t particularly help anyone on stage.

The soprano in the first cast was MYRTÒ PAPATANASIU. The Greek soprano seemed tired and her voice is rather unbalanced, at least according to the first performance of this production. The first octave is quite weak, but the voice gets fuller as the vocal line goes towards the high register, which is, though, a bit tensed and at its limits. That’s why, maybe, the highest note in the final of “La tomba è un letto sparso di fiori” was removed. She’s intelligent and owns a large pallet of nuances of her voice, that she uses righteously in different moments of the opera. All in all, considering also her worth-mentioning acting skills and stature, she had a good performance. 

MARKO MIMICA is still very young, but extremely promising in this repertoire, due to the fact that he reached the expressive maturity and the full knowledge upon the possibilities of his instrument, combine with a more than pleasant stage presence. 

FRANCESCO VASSALLO, Miller, has an important voice, that sometimes he doesn’t use in the best manner and neither serves the nature of the character, a loving father. The audience applauded lastly both after his aria in the first act and at the final curtain call, which means that the Milanese baritone conquered the Bolognese public anyway. Less would have probably been more in his case. 

MARTINA BELLI, an elegant and sensual Federica, managed to overcome the difficult vocalisation in the end of the recitative before “Dell’aule raggianti”. A noteworthy presence on stage, without any doubt, as always. 

GABRIELE SAGONA performed well the role of Wurm, presenting a beautiful dark timbre and intelligent phrasing in his small, but important part.

VETA PILIPENKO replaced Eleonora Filipponi as Laura and was noted for her beautiful, mellow timbre even in this small part. The cast was successfully completed by HARUO KAWAKAMI, student of Scuola dell’Opera del Teatro Comunale di Bologna.

DANIEL OREN is back at Teatro Comunale after Tosca, in January. Luisa Miller suits better his style of conducting and quite manages to move us in certain moments of the score. Under his baton, the orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna and its choir performed well. 

Nothing to add about this “production”, in conclusion. I’d probably not go to see it twice. As for the singing cast, the well deserved success increases the expectations for the next production, Otello, once again with Kunde in the leading role. 

Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


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