(includes photos of Saturday's performance)
The hundreds of patrons who packed the unique auditorium, sans pareil as regards acoustics on the Maltese islands, just did not want to leave: it was all there: finesse, charm, elegance, mystery, scenic beauty, glorious music, golden-voiced soloists and matching choir. You name it: it was all there and more!
The Teatru Astra has achieved greatness beyond measure in yesterday’s production. Norma is notoriously difficult opera: difficult for the bareness of the milieu; difficult for the vocal lines, demanding uncommon prowess not least from the wronged prima donnas; difficult for the messa in scena which presents numerous pitfalls and one could easily end up with an array of rigid statues on the stage with their eyes glued to the prompter; difficult for the considerable length of the music, which if not taken at the right tempi, could flop. Yesterday’s production in its entirety was a lezione di canto, led by a superb and towering Norma, worthily flanked by a fascinating Adalgisa, a brash turned penitent Pollione, and an authoritative Oroveso. Yesterday’s Norma at the Astra was a lezione di direzione artistica: never on any stage have the fantastic play of lights, gripping scenery, sleek and fast changes of scene, been raised to such heights. Yesterday’s production was a lezione di direzione musicale: the National Philharmonic Orchestra under the inspiring direction of Prof. Joseph Vella, created the apposite soundscape ranging from the dramatic and portentous to the seductive and appealing.
All is set for Saturday’s performance: steal, grab, cajole: just make sure you get a ticket….Greatness does not come by on every second day…..
The very few remaining tickets can be booked on 7925 6897.
28 October 2011
(Photos: Joe Attard)