Review: Andrea Chénier

Review: Andrea Chénier

Umberto Giordano's third opera, Andrea Chénier, was revived this season at the Royal Opera House.

David McVicar directs the four-act opera, detailing the life of the titular poet in a story that spans from pre to post-French Revolution. With Daniel Oren's conduction, the opera remains truthful to the original; the singing, in tandem with the staging and costumes being inherently traditional.

With the plot of the opera focusing on revolution, it would be hard for the production not to stir our emotions. However, it was the supporting roles that struck the highest cord. While tenor Roberto Alagna is impressive in the titular role, it is the performance of Sondra Radvanovsky (Maddalena) and Dimitri Platanias (Carlo Gérard) that were particularly outstanding.

Radvanovsky effortlessly treads the line between vulnerability and strength in her performance as Alagna's on stage lover. Without giving too much away, her final addresses to Chénier and Gérard are particularly harrowing, made all the more pertinent by her soprano vocal range. Also, Platanias' performance is deeply moving; the audience being at first repelled and eventually warmed by the character.

Sondra Radvanovsky as Maddalena di Coigny, Roberto Alagna as Andrea ChÇnier (C) ROH 2019. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore.

Sondra Radvanovsky as Maddalena di Coigny, Roberto Alagna as Andrea ChÇnier (C) ROH 2019. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore.

While the costumes and staging capture the dichotomy between aristocratic and public life during the French Revolution, it felt somewhat dull in comparison to the Royal Opera's more daring, recent productions (see our review of Phaedra).

The production as a whole was powerful, but it was undoubtedly carried by the passionate performances of Radvanovsky and Platanias.

You can see Andrea Chénier at the Royal Opera House until 9th June. For tickets and more information, click here.

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