By Gabriele Klein
Special to the Observer
For the first time in 25 years, the Met presents Giordano’s passionate and exhilarating verismo drama “Fédora.”
Soprano Sonya Yoncheva headlines an elegant new production in the role of the 19th century Russian princess who falls in love with her fiancé’s murderer. The opera is packed with memorable melodies, show stopping arias and explosive confrontations.
The cast also includes: tenor Piotr Beczala as Count Loris, soprano Rosa Feola as the Countess Olga, Fédora’s confidante, and baritone Artur Ruciński as the diplomat DeSiriex. Met Maestro Marco Armiliato conducts.
After seeing legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt take on the title role in the play Fédora by Victorien Sardou – whose La Tosca also inspired Puccini to compose his own melodramatic masterpiece – Umberto Giordano was set on adapting the work for the operatic stage. The result, which premiered at Milan’s Teatro Lirico in 1898, has all the hallmarks of a great verismo tragedy. In it, a Russian princess vows to revenge the murder of her betrothed, only to fall desperately in love with the man that killed him. It is a tale packed with the kind of oversized emotions, fraught encounters and unexpected plot twists that translate so well into grand vocal outpourings – such as the tenor’s Act II aria, “Amor ti vieta,” which has achieved great popularity well beyond the opera house.
Director David McVicar delivers a detailed and dramatic staging based around an ingenious fixed set that, like a Russian nesting doll, unfolds to reveal the opera’s three distinctive settings – a palace in St. Petersburg, a fashionable Parisian salon and a picturesque villa in the Swiss Alps.
The HD Live from the Met performance will be shown on Saturday, Jan. 14, 9:55 a.m. at the Salmar Classic Theatre in Salmon Arm.
Estimated run time is two hours, 25 minutes. Acts I and II are 75 minutes, intermission 30 minutes and Act III 40 minutes.
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