Two * role-debuts in Vienna State Opera. My sympathy lies with Abigaille. One could play her as just a power-hungry bitch. But then she is incomplete and you would oversee vital clues. She is Nabucco's daughter, or so she believes. She loves her father who all the time shows his affections is only for Fenena. Abigaille want to be loved. But even her love-interest love Fenena. But Abigaille is the daughter who really steps in Nabucco's shoes. For both Nabucco and Ismaele (the man she loves) she is willing to let go of power and instead of being Queen/Princess to be loved and love. If you really listen to what Abigaille says to Ismaele and Nabucco then you can hear a lot of compassion and love. But naturally Abigaille is really a complicated woman.
In the duet between Nabucco and Abigaille when Nabucco longs for Fenena, she says "You have another daughter" and runs towards him, and he rewards her with you are just a slave's daughter. Later he tries to save Fenena but Nabucco misses vital clues. Had he listened he would have understood to try to give Abigaille the kingdom (You shall be the Queen) is the wrong move, had he offered her "give me my daughter Fenena back and then then you too will be my daughter, and I will be you father) then I think things would be different. But he only sees the power-hungry woman and not a woman who wants her father's affection.
I see all the other characters in Nabucco as more fanatical and dangerous. Nabucco is a blood-hungry lion and so is Zaccaria even if Zaccaria is more religious. Ismaele and Fenena is also hard-hearted towards Abigaille and a bit fanatical. Of course the high-priest of Belo is fanatical. So Abigaille is the only one that is human and when Maria Guleghina sings Abigaille who cannot love her...
The Vienna production of Nabucco:
Inszenierung: Günter Krämer
Bühne: Petra Buchholz
Bühne: Manfred Voss
Kostüme: Falk Bauer
Licht: Manfred Voss
Musikalische Studienleitung: Jendrik Springer
I never quite liked it.
1- During the overture children acted like they were Abigaille, Fenena, Ismaele and Zaccaria in the children's room. That play did not give me anything.
2- This production uses the Holocaust in a way that I really don't think fits, not to the opera, and not at all, it seem like abuse of that great tragedy.
3- And the Holocaust reference would not be universally understood unless you have seen photos of Jews waiting with their luggage at the train station and read enough to understand what terrible places they were really going to.
Otherwise the production works very enough.
Maria Guleghina was a wonderful Abigaille. Her singing and acting was superb. She showed all the nuances of Abigaille. GREAT!
Alberto Gazale was really coming to be a Nabucco to be listening too. A bit weak in the beginning but then he really found his voice and was from that point on a Nabucco to be counted on. Leo Nucci, Renato Bruson, Juan Pons was great as Nabucco and now a new Nabucco has arrived. And I loved it how he when Abigaille came in dying to the stage I saw compassion in this last scene of the opera. GREAT!
Elisabeth Kulman sang Fenena. A beautiful voice, did her part wonderfully, one really hopes she gets a role she can shine into. Fenena is a small part. But she did it well!!
Marian Talaba was Ismaele. He really did sing and act well. A great part for Marian Talaba!
Goran Simic as the Great Priest of Belo (Baal) was really impressing this time. Full-bearded and full-voices. Great!!
Abdallo = Benedikt Kobel (did well)
Caroline Wenborne as Anna was a disappointment. Such a small role and she managed to be so very late in her most important moment "Oh fratelli, perdonate! Un'Ebrea salvato egli ha."
Giacomo Prestia as Zaccaria was really impressing. Rich voiced and acting well. GREAT!!
And after the opera: Maria Guleghina talked to her fans in fluent Italian and was the sweetest person. I even got to talk to her. WOW, I got even more a fan of her after that encounter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
VIVA MARIA GULEGHINA!!!!!!!!