You Review: Jonas Kaufmann stars in Umberto Giordano’s Andre Chénier

Reader Mike Tilling relishes a live screening of McVicar’s production

You Review: Jonas Kaufmann stars in Umberto Giordano’s Andre Chénier

I suspect the modernists would have gone home shaking their heads: David McVicar, the master of the re-imagined opera, had given us an evening to satisfy the most ardent of traditionalists.

It takes the resources of our premier national opera house to stage a show such as this. Which other venue could match the sumptuousness of the costumes, the solidity of the sets, the subtlety of the lighting? Excellent as these theatrical devices were however, we know it all depends on the singing.

Current world number one tenor Jonas Kaufman (above) delivered on expectations for the voice, the acting and the charisma, but it was the depth of quality throughout the whole cast that was astonishing.

The revelation of the evening was Željko Lučić as Gerard. From his first appearance as the malcontent servant secretly in love with Maddelena, to later as stalwart of the revolution, his powerful baritone and brooding presence dominated the stage. If Dickens’s Sydney Carton’s sacrifice was the inspiration for Maddalena, then Puccini’s Scarpia was behind the character of Gerard.

As for conductor Antonio Pappano? The man never puts a foot wrong. Whatever they are paying him, it is not enough.

The normally reticent live streaming audience at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre loved it. Caught up in the power of what was happening on-screen, for once we joined in the applause of the Royal Opera House audience, feeling slightly foolish, but also very much part of the experience.


Mike Tilling, Scarborough



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