I guess Verdi’s Nabucco is even more closely associated with the Risorgimento than his other works so it’s not perhaps surprising that, for his 2017 production for Verona, Arnaud Bernard made the connection explicit. We are in Milan during the Five Days. La Scala; which does duty as the Temple, the Hanging Gardens and itself, stands in the middle of the huge performance space of the Arena di Verona. Italian and Austrian soldiers, including cavalry, ride around the arena or clamber over the terraces. It’s wild and spectacular but it’s more than that.
Stein Winge’s 2002 production of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District at Barcelona’s Liceu is fairly straightforward in a minimalist sort of way. The first scene establishes the tone for sets. There’s a bed and a window and that’s about it. The succeeding eight scenes are equally stark. There’s an unusual, and disturbingly creepy, sexual tension between Katerina and Boris Ismailov; played here less boorishly than usual by Anatoli Kotcherga. The three “difficult” scenes; the rape of Aksinya, the seduction and the death of Katerina are all handled pretty well. It’s all less “in your face” than Martin Kušej’s Amsterdam production but it’s effective. There’s also an element of “black slapstick”, especially in the scenes involving the police, that seems to fit the music rather well.Continue reading →