A bel canto jewel and one of the most technically-challenging operas of the repertoire found its dream team in 2016 at the Teatro Real de Madrid with the incredible soprano Diana Damrau as Elvira, Javier Camarena as Arturo, Ludovic Tézier as Sir Riccardo Forth, and Nicolas Testé as Sir Giorgio. The Spanish stage director Emilio Sagi’s setting of I Puritani is somber and elegant, a perfect match for the excellent musical direction of Evelino Pidò, one of the great interpreters of this repertoire.
Bellini’s last opera brims with the ideals of Italian Romanticism: love triangles, quid pro quos, and frustrated passions that lead to madness are set against a backdrop of political rivalries in Puritan England, and the many odes to liberty allude to the political upheaval crossing the Italian peninsula of the 1830s. Though in the twilight of his career, the Bellini of I Puritani is at the summit of his genius, and as an inheritor of Rossini's tradition, he crafts beautiful and ornate melodies for the ages, including a profound and melancholic lamento that recalls traditional neapolitan folk song.
Photo: © Javier del Real
Nikolaus Lehnhoff, Fabio Luisi – Juan Diego Flórez (Il Duca di Mantova), Zeljko Lucic (Rigoletto), Diana Damrau (Gilda) – Semperoper Dresden
Riccardo Muti, Pierre Audi – With Diana Damrau (Queen of the Night) and René Pape (Sarastro)...