Simon Boccanegra at the Lyric

Another fantastic evening at the Lyric! We’d previously caught the Met’s streaming of Simon Boccanegra where Placido Domingo starred in the title role in his first outing as a baritone. This time around, Thomas Hampson led a stellar cast at the Lyric. I was especially taken with Ferruccio Furlanetto’s Fiesco. We’ve seen him perform at least three times now, starting with Ernani at the Met, and last season as Boris Gudunov at the Lyric. Frank Loppardo, Krassimira Stoyanova, and Quinn Kelsey rounded the rest of the strong cast.

I wasn’t such a fan of the set design, which I thought serviceable but kinda boring, especially considering some of the clever set designs we’d recently seen in theatre. Jeff liked its simplicity though, essentially framed on one side by a white wall with camouflaged doors, and the other by twin rows of thick pillars. Scene changes were suggested by moving backdrops that suggested different perspectives.

Chicago Stage Review, well, reviews the opera:

American baritone Thomas Hampson cuts his usual dashing figure as Boccanegra, who has given up his pirate’s wandering for the life of a plebian, and the sublime Ferruccio Furlanetto, one of the finest bass singers on the opera stage today, imbues Fiesco with his uniquely Italian passion. The stage sets for Boccanegra still have the grand scale and perspective we expect, but the aesthetic is elegant and more evocative than literal. The clean lines, dramatic perspective and subtle blue-grey tones of Michael Yeargan’s creations allow the characters to spring from the background, and focus audience attention on the singers while at the same time creating a compelling world for them to inhabit. Peter Hall’s costumes flesh out the historical perspective hinted at by Yeargan’s subtle detail: their rich, golden tones evoking a Byzantine painting.

Without exception, a top-notch talent fills every major role in this production. Each scene reveals a new musical pleasure. When the travelling Doge and his entourage pay a call at the Grimaldi estate, Boccanegra and Amelia discover that they are father and daughter. The climactic scene that follows features one of Verdi’s most beautiful duets (Figlia! a tal nome io palpito), its delicate and tender nature enhanced by the sensitive interpretation of the Lyric Opera orchestra.

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