An Avalanche of Applause for La Wally?
by Christie Connolley
Full disclosure…. I LOVE La Wally! Love, love, love it! I wish it was scheduled more frequently…. umm… or at all, actually. In this day and age where opera settings are updated with such frequency, can’t the avalanche be morphed into something equally as devastating, like, I don’t know…. an internet outage?
Rupert Christiansen of The Telegraph was also delighted to see La Wally this season at Opera Holland Park. Check out the Operagasm review run-down!
Make it rain… er… I mean snow: “Nine times out of 10, there are good reasons why operas fall out of favour or languish neglected, but Catalani’s La Wally is the exception. It isn’t unduly long or difficult to cast. It has shortcomings, yes, but the music is wonderful and the drama weirdly compelling. Toscanini was a great fan, naming his daughter after the titular heroine, who has a Classic FM hit aria in “Ebben? ne andro lontano”, featured in the 1980s cult movie Diva. One drawback, I guess, is the difficulty of putting an Alpine village and a mountain ravine on stage, in particular the potentially ludicrous business of people falling to their deaths into the latter.”
Someone took a Music History of the Romantic Era class or two: “Catalani clothes it all in a score of rich, melodic expressivity and vigour, composed in 1890 on the cusp between noble Verdi and sentimental Puccini. Wagner can be heard in the background, and the use of folk dances and songs pre-echoes Mahler and even Janácek.”
Bravi Tutti: “Gweneth-Ann Jeffers incarnates the title role with tremendous bravado and vibrant Italianate tone. As the hapless Gellner, Stephen Gadd sings with crisp authority, and Adrian Dwyer convinces as the feckless Hagenbach. The chorus makes the most of several opportunities, and Peter Robinson conducts the City of London Sinfonia with a strong pulse and sensitivity to its multicoloured palette.”