An Italian Festival Presents Verdi on His Own Turf

PARMA, Italy — The Festival Verdi Parma has led a sleepy existence here for most of its 18 years. although currently the item demands attention.

Where else in four days can you see four Verdi operas so rare the most favorite one is usually “Attila”? Operating as part of the Teatro Regio di Parma, the festival — situated inside heart of the northern Italian region where Verdi grew up along with returned to build a villa after attaining fame along with fortune — appeals to connoisseurs without being esoteric. along with, in a triumph for the little guy (Parma is usually far down on the rank of Italian cities by population), the item was named This particular year’s best festival by the International Opera Awards.

Two of This particular year’s productions, “Le Trouvère” along with the original variation of “Macbeth,” are rarely performed incarnations of well-known works. Even “Un Giorno di Regno,” Verdi’s comic opera once debunked as an embarrassment for the composer of “Falstaff,” is usually not the obscurity the item once was.

Anna Maria Meo, the Teatro Regio’s general director since 2015 along with the primary force behind the festival’s ascent, said Parma has an advantage in in which smaller towns, like Bayreuth in Germany along with Salzburg in Austria, are Great places for major festivals.

“You can see excellent Verdi performances at Covent Garden along with the Metropolitan, although here Verdi is usually central, along with people come for the experience,” Ms. Meo said. Indeed, a whopping 65 percent of the festival’s audience comes by outside Italy, drawn by the chance to hear Verdi on his own turf along with by Ms. Meo’s innovations, which include a host of ancillary events often presented at sites like the 16th-century Palazzo del Giardino inside Ducal Park.

The conductor Roberto Abbado, nephew of the great Claudio Abbado, was named the festival’s music director last year. Francesco Izzo, the general editor of the Verdi critical edition, works to keep the festival’s musicology current. along having a no-cuts policy ensures in which even operas with ballets are performed in their entirety.

The vast Verdi canon still contains operas in which can afford aficionados the pleasure of discovery. The maligned “Un Giorno di Regno,” Verdi’s second opera, sparkles here in Pier Luigi Pizzi’s elegant production — originally staged at the Teatro Regio along with adapted for the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi inside nearby town Busseto. Yes, the plot about two ill-matched couples along having a man posing as the king of Poland is usually a bit opaque, although Verdi’s music, stylishly conducted by Francesco Pasqualetti, speaks clearly along with in its own voice. Massimo Gasparon smartly adapted the production for the Verdi, a 290-seat gem. Next year, the festival will stage “Aida” there; don’t expect elephants.

The Teatro Farnese, a massive, 17th-century wooden structure inside Palazzo della Pilotta complex in Parma, has of late been the site of the festival’s more experimental productions. (The next edition of the festival will leave the theater in favor of San Francesco del Prato, an abandoned 13th-century church undergoing renovation.) Graham Vick’s 2017 staging at the Farnese of “Stiffelio,” which won a prize by the Italian Music Critics Association, placed singers on movable platforms amid an audience in which took inside spectacle on foot.

Alas, Robert Wilson’s production inside same venue of “Le Trouvère,” an 1857 adaptation of “Il Trovatore” for the Paris Opera, was a disappointment. Unlike Mr. Vick, he treated the theater as an ordinary space having a proscenium stage whose acoustic didn’t flatter the voices. His trademark static direction conceivably could have supplied an arresting departure with This particular frenetically vital opera, although in which might have required vibrant colors like those of some other Wilson productions. Here, all was dark along with dreary.

Verdi, apparently content with “Il Trovatore” as the item stood, made only minor modifications for Paris, apart by the addition of a lengthy ballet sequence. As persuasively conducted by Mr. Abbado, the item demonstrated Verdi’s considerable skill as an orchestral composer. Multiple dancelike scenes depicting boxing skirmishes, however, grew tedious. Giuseppe Gipali’s Manrique seemed smaller-scale, although Barbara Mantegna (Léonore), Nino Surguladze (Azucena) along with Franco Vassallo (Le Comte de Luna) gave engrossing performances.

The psychologically penetrating production of the 1847 variation of “Macbeth,” by Daniele Abbado (Claudio’s son), is usually performed inside Teatro Regio (as is usually “Attila”) along with has many moments of darkness along with gloom. although they make sense dramatically. Macbeth’s failure of nerve comes early along with decisively. Especially inspired is usually Mr. Abbado’s staging of the second witches’ chorus as a trendy party in which Macbeth seeks refuge after his disgrace in imagining visions of Banquo before his formally dressed dinner guests. Striking visual images, such as a big blob of foliage for Birnam Wood, enhance tension.

The baritone Luca Salsi gave a masterly portrayal of the title role, charged with singing of breathless intensity. He overshadowed the Lady Macbeth of the soprano Anna Pirozzi, whose principal asset was a brilliant upper range. The sterling bass Michele Pertusi sang Banquo, along with Philippe Auguin’s conducting had dramatic weight.

No less a star was the 1847 variation itself, which emerged as first-rate opera. Listening to the item, I often sensed in which Verdi altered passages for the 1865 revision not because they were inferior although because he wanted to bring the opera up-to-date by reflecting developments in his musical style. In combination with Mr. Abbado’s production, the original score was a revelation.

Mr. Salsi received a big ovation for the Act IV aria ”Pietà, rispetto, amore,” although mixed among the cheers were a few boos, which only made the cheers grow louder along with the ovation longer. in which’s Parma for you.

George Loomis is usually a musicologist along with freelance classical music writer along with critic.

Festival Verdi Parma
Through Oct. 21 in Parma along with Bussetto, Italy; festivalverdiparma.the item.