Carlo Gérard - Alberto Gazale
Maddalena di Coigny - María José Siri
Bersi, her maid - Susann Végh
The Countess of Coigny - Marianne Eklöf
Madelon - Marianne Eklöf
Roucher - Linus Börjesson
Mathieu, a sans-culotte - Johan Edholm
The Incredible - Magnus Kyhle
The Abbot - Magnus Kyhle
The novelist Pietro Fléville - Kristian Flor
Fouquier Tinville, the Public Prosecutor -
Schmidt - Michael Schmidberger
Dumas - Michael Schmidberger
Master of the Household - Michael Schmidberger
Father of Gerard - Lars Ekholm
Pier Giorgio Morandi, conductor
DIRECTOR Dmitri Bertman
SETS Hartmut Schörghofer
COSTUME Corinna Crome
LIGHTING Hans-Åke Sjöquist
CHOREOGRAPHY Edvald Smirnoff
The Royal Opera Chorus
Chorus master: Folke Alin and Christina Hornell
Royal Opera Orchestra
It was Friday January 10th, 2014, it was winterly cold without snow. The snowing started on Sunday. I was going to see a traditional Regie of Andrea Chenier, or so I thought. At first I was disappointed but then I started to understand it. I hated the fakesness of the Contessa and her ilk in act 1. I thought in the beginning it meant that the Regie was wrong-headed and just vulgar. Later I understood it as a critique, and a just one, of the high society. A world where the fake has substitued the real. They might say the word love (Amore) but love is nowhere to be seen in here. They might flirt with sex, to be vogue as they lust, but real, pure love or simple affection that is true and not just affected does not live here.
Carlo Gerard looks at it all, sees the wrongness, and loves the still pure Maddalena. Maddalena di Coigny who is a few years from being corrupted by this society, is still pure at heart. Her play with Bersi, her chamber maid, is still that of a child. Then the entertainment enters. Andrea Chenier is the only one that is not playing a role. Chenier is clad in dark cloths and no whig. No one of the gray hairs on his head can make him old and cynic. Jose Cura's Andrea Chenier is very much young at heart. A dreamer and a poet. He does not belong in the cold and fake world. La Contessa of Marianne Ekløf is angered by his refusal simply to bough and recite a poem on the fly. Maddalena of Maria Jose Siri is taken by the first appearance of Andrea Chenier, so taken is she that she has to make him talk of love. She insults him by saying that they all have spoken of Love, and without his precious Muse. L'Improvviso. Great singing. And very much a tipping point, Maddalena understands something new, feels love. Carlo Gerard opens the door for la Miseria to visit the high society. As Carlo Gerard of Alberto Gazale leaves, the high society will meet death.
Often I get bored with the first act of Andrea Chenier and it is only when Chenier himself arrives that I get into it. In Stockholm there was no hesitation, I went inside the opera and stayed there. Alberto Gazale is the best Carlo Gerard I have ever seen. Maria Jose Siri was just amazing as Maddalena di Coigny. Jose Cura is the best Andrea Chenier today, and in Stockholm he just did one of his fiest intepretation. Marianne Ekløf was La Contessa. She was putting layers to her role, just as she could be totally fake and play with crowd, there was also a deep love for her daughter. Foolish and yet profond.
Act 2 was really great. It was really well thought out. Gazale, Siri and Cura was just astounding. Marianne Ekløf came again, this time as La Vecchia Madelon. Wow, this is how it should be done. I mean WOW!!! Of course, the love duet between Siri and Cura was wonderful!! But really Marianne Ekløf!!!! Viva!!
Interval. The Royal Opera House in Stockholm. It is old, it is lovely, it seem like an intimate venue.
Act 3. Alberto Gazale was looking so well in his red tuxedo. He looked like the handsomest Mefistofele. Carlo Gerard is no longer an innocent servant and he still lusts after Maddalena and now he has power. Maria Jose Siri is a powerhouse as Maddalena di Coigny. She is also an excellent actress. La mamma morta, wonderful, feeling every second of it. Then it is the court scene. Not just four condemned people but four people whose lives are connected now. Andrea Chenier is a source of comfort and strenght for them all. Chenier defense, Si, fui soldato, ended on a high note that I deem did not belong there. And really that it the only minus in the whole evening, that I still haven't accepted.
Act 4. Wonderful act 4. I have never seen any production of Andrea Chenier where the 4 prisoners are interacting. I loved how much love and care that they had towards each other, only when the soldier was not looking. Idia Legray, the young, pregnant woman. When the soldier let her out the door was he really letting her go? Chenier was a source of goodness and comfort. Wonderful love duet!! Of course, Stockholm got one of the best ever Come un bel di di Maggion from Jose Cura, too.
Death cage with the former high socity members to carry them to Death. Viva la morte insieme!