Johan Botha as Arrigo, Photo: A. Zeininger
An outstanding evening at the opera
Finally, after the many cancellations, a performance took place as it was supposed to
be due to the monthly schedule and this constellation of voices provided an outstanding
evening at the opera. The protagonists Renato Bruson (Monforte), Johan Botha (Arrigo),
Ferruccio Furlanetto (Procida) and Eliane Coelho (Elena) had all been in top form as the
choir and the orchestra was.
Already the overture anticipating the melee at the end of the opera, the love duet
between Elena and Arrigo and the loving feelings of the father Monforte towards his son
Arrigo was a rousing start of the evening through the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under
the baton of Paolo Carignani. A very special enjoyment of this performance was Renato
Bruson as Monforte, the French occupying governor of the Italian island Sicilia, who
recognizes his son in the Sicilian rebel Arrigo. At January 13, 2001, the Italian baritone
had celebrated his 65th birthday and as well his 40th anniversary of his first appearance
on stage. With his vocal presence in all dynamics and registers, which had not always been
given to this extend especially in the beginning of the performances in the last years,
his vocal culture and techniques, his pleasantly sounding legato and his urgent
interpretation he was able to go back to his heydays. Who had not had the chance to hear
him on stage at those days, but was hearing him on January 24, knows now what has
established his glory and outstanding reputation. It is to hope that Renato Bruson will
still be able to produce many of such evenings.
Ferruccio Furlanetto as Procida, Photo: A. Zeininger
All positive vocal qualities mentioned about Bruson, are valid also for Johan Botha. In
the role of Arrigo he convinces by his perfect guiding of his voice, which lets fuse the
registers with smooth transitions, and his in all registers beautiful sounding tenor.
Eliane Coelho mastered with great reliability the wide-ranging tessitura from low (mezzo)
register to high soprano regions and this with her typical, intensive role interpretation.
The Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto was again a class for his own, which is hard to
describe in words. You have to hear and see him.
Renato Bruson and Iano Tamar in Ernani
also in the Verdi Weeks at Vienna
Photo: Axel Zeininger
Less delightful is the production of Herbert Wernicke, who was also responsible for the
costumes, settings and lighting. Through all five acts it has the same steep staircase,
which goes over the full width of the stage, and the costumes are clothing of the 20th
century. As in many Verdi operas the choir plays also in I vespri sciliani an important
role, which has a great part in the success of this opera evening.