Saturday, April 9, 2016

John Paul Huckle appearing in Giordano's "other opera" Fedora

John Paul Huckle poses in the beautiful Teatro di San Carlo
Umberto Giodano's Fedora is often dubbed his "other" opera  (referrring to hit Andrea Chenier) or it's remembered for the Loris's Act 2 aria Amor ti vieta, which has become a favorite of tenors worldwide.

The opera has hung around because the story, based a play by Victorien Sardou, packs some emotional punch. After all, he was the author of the play that became Tosca, which Puccini later made into his successful opera.

A number of great sopranos have taken on the title role, including Magda Olivero (who recently died at age 104) and Maria Callas, who performed it at La Scala (where is that recording?). More recently Mirella Freni Angela Gheorghiu, Renata Scotto, Daniela Dessì, Eva Marton, Virginia Zeani and Katia Ricciarelli have sung the role. You'd be hard pressed to find a tenor who hasn't performed Amor ti vieta at some point in his career, and great recordings (both live and studio) exist from Franco Corelli, Mario Del Monaco, Beniamino Gigli, Jussi Bjorling, Placido Domingo, Roberto Alagna, Giuseppe di Stefano, Nicolai Gedda, Tito Schipa, Jose Carreras, Roland Villazon, Jonas Kaufmann and Luciano Pavarotti.

Renata Scotto and Placido Domingo perform Fedora:

The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples will present the opera from May 3-11 with an all-star cast headed by Fiorenza Cedolins in the title role and Giuseppe Filianoti as Count Loris. Bass-barihunk John Paul Huckle will take on the dual assignment of Cirillo and the doctor Boroff. Tickets and cast information is available online.

The Teatro di San Carlo will also be presenting a double-bill of Granados' Goyescas and Puccini's Suor Angelica from May 28-June 28 with barihunk César San Martin as Paquiro in the first half of the program. Tickets and cast information is available online.

César San Martin appears in Goyescas
The story of the Giordano opera revolves around Fedora Romazoff, a Russian princess engaged to wed Count Vladimir, who is shot before the opera starts. Fedora sets out to avenge his death and she extracts a confession from Count Loris, who is enamored with her.  She denounces Loris in a letter before realizing that he shot Vladimir not for political reasons, but because Vladimir was having an affair with his lover Wanda. As could only happen in verismo opera, Fedora then tells Loris that she loves him and they run off to Switzerland together. While there, Loris finds out that his brother died in jail after being accused of complicity in Vladimir's death, which prompts his mother to drop dead. Loris realizes that the "mystery woman" who had denounced him and killed both his brother and his mother was Fedora. He then flies into a fit of rage. Overcome with guilt and grief, Fedora drinks poison from a hollow crucifix hanging around her neck. As she dies, Loris forgives her, but it is too late, and she dies in his arms as the song of a shepherd boy is heard from the Alpine foothills.

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