For the opening concert of the season, the NTR ZaterdagMatinee managed to engage a big star: Lianna Haroutounian sings the title role in Fedora by Umberto Giordano.
Love of the murderer After Andrea Chénier , Fedora is Umberto Giordano's second Romantic-Romantic opera. It has not remained so well known, possibly because of a slightly less skilled librettist, but it is an extremely lively piece. Fedora is first and foremost an exciting detective story, with the corpse of the man the title heroine was to marry a day later already in the first act. The spectator already suspects 'whodunnit', but the main actors do not know for a long time. Moreover, an impossible romance develops between this woman and the murderer. The whole story takes place against a (historical) backdrop of St. Petersburg in 1881, where the police very easily fear an attack by international 'nihilists' or secret agents in every murder.
Lively drama At the end of the nineteenth century , the Italian composer and his librettist Arturo Collauti harked back to a play by the Frenchman Victorien Sardou, whose La Tosca also inspiredGiacomo Puccini at the same time. As an eighteen-year-old student, Giordano had already tried to get permission to adapt Sardou's play into an opera, but only after the success of Andrea Chénier, almost ten years later, did he obtain the rights. The result was extremely successful for twenty years or so, but gradually the public began to associate detective stories more with the new film genre, and unfortunately the opera disappeared into the background.
Giordano switches quickly between many different style registers: parlando, lyricism and the typical parlar forte, which gives the conversations a very natural, 'realistic' flow. Remarkable, and at the same time typical of Giordano's dramaturgy, is the refined way in which the superficial activities of the bored 'beau monde' form a wry contrast with the intense, closely fought love affairs of Fedora and Count Loris Ipanov. The local colour is also exceptional, with the story taking place in St. Petersburg for two acts, and then in Switzerland; and there are nice supporting roles for a Polish pianist (who does not sing) - the 'artistic heir of Chopin' - and the flirtatious Olga. In the second act, Fedora and Loris can finally be alone and give free rein to their passion. This love duet is undeniably the heart of the opera.
Opera for great singers Giordano had no few singers at his disposal for the premiere. Gemma Bellincioni (known from the premiere of Mascagni's Cavelleria rusticana) was played as Fedora by the still young Enrico Caruso as Loris. Our casting consultant Christian Carlstedt on the cast: "For Fedora you need a powerful soprano. Lianna Haroutounian was happy to expand her repertoire with this rarely sung role." And as her opposite Count Loris he chose Italian tenor Luciano Ganci.
A year ago, opera connoisseur and Matinee enthusiast Basia Jaworski collected a few special recordings on her website.
The Ghent opera lover Gilbert Antheunis also admires Giordano's Fedora, it appears.
Opening season 21-22: Giordano's Fedora
NTR Saturday Matinee 12 September 2021, 14:15 Concertgebouw Amsterdam | surtitles in the auditorium to be heard live on NPO Radio 4 and viewed on nporadio4.nl/live
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Netherlands Radio Choir Giampaolo Bisanticonductor Klaas-Jan de Grootchoral conductor
Lianna Haroutounian soprano (Fedora)
Luciano Gancitenor (Loris Ipanov)
Valentina Mastrangelosoprano (Olga Sukarev)
Franco Vassallobaritone (De Siriex)
Marcel Beekmantenor (Rouvel)
Linard Vrielinktenor (Désire)
Jasper Leeverbass (Gretch)
Frederik Bergmanbaritone (Cirillo)
Martijn Sandersbaritone (Borov)
Esther Kuipermezzo-soprano (Dimitri)
Wiebe-Pier Cnossenbaritone (Lorek)
Tibbe Alkemadeboy soprano (Un piccolo savoiardo)
Georgi Sztojanovtenor Groot Omroepkoor (Sergio)
Lars Terraybaritone Groot Omroepkoor (Nicola / Michele)