On Tuesday 4th September 2018 was released a marvellous “Turandot” at XXVth Aspendos International Festival in Turkey.
Following the impulsion of the newly nominated Director General of Turkish Opera Theatres and Ballet, young and already famous Tenor Murat Karahan, “Turandot” has come back on Aspendos stage after eighteen years.
Last time, in 2000, Ankara’s Opera called Maestro Antonio Pirolli to be the conductor and Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini to assume the stage direction with the fantastic Nilgun Akkerman as Turandot and it was already a success.
This year, the choice of Maestro Alberto Veronesi as conductor, united with the return of Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini for the stage direction, indicates clearly the will of the Director General of the Turkish Opera to express with magnificent emphasis his taste for the genuine essence of art and music at its utmost level.
In the grandiose settings of Aspendos Antique Theatre, the best singers of Turkey were called to give life to the ultimate characters of Giacomo Puccini. The brilliant cast included Perihan Diana Nayir Artan as Princess Turandot, Murat Karahan as Prince Calaf, Lorenzo Mok Arranz as Emperor Altom, Teyfik Rodos as Timur, Seda Araci Ayazli as Liu, Murat Duyan as Ping, Tankut Esber as Pang, Serkan Teylan as Pong, Nejad Begde as one Mandarin and Serkan Sarikaya in the role of the Prince of Persia.
The lovely sets were signed by Ozgur Usta and the beautiful costumes by Savas Camgoz. To be noted the elegant choreography of Amagan Davran and the inspiring light designing of Fuat Gok.
The combination between the brio and sensitivity of Maestro Veronesi together with the supreme harmony of the royal court, rendered in a rich and colourful manner by Maestro Grisostomi Travaglini has reached its climax in this particularly difficult opera of Puccini. The audience was definitely convinced and the long ovation at the end of the performance was just the confirmation of the enthusiasm, already expressed when Murat Karahan was warmly invited to sing “Nessun dorma” a second time !
Last but not least, the incredible honour the artists were granted by His Excellency Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, when he went on stage to congratulate all of them with a bunch of white flowers in sign of gratitude for their art and work.
Many thanks to Official photographer Yusuf Emre Turan who did marvellous pictures of this enchanting evening.
“Novità senza emozioni”, articolo del Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini in “L’Opera- International Magazine”, Luglio-Agosto 2018 su “La Bohème” di Giacomo Puccini al Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.
“Al Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, in un allestimento in coproduzione con il Regio di Torino, la scelta degli spazi è quanto mai interessante e sia pure nella ristrettezza di due camere con cucina a vista, perduti tra le lamiere di una periferia impersonale e senza luogo, non raggiungono nell’espressione alcuno degli obiettivi specifici del titolo proposto così che, ad esempio nel primo quadro tra Rodolfo e Mimì “le dolcezze estreme, nel bacio freme amor!” sono solo parole, senza emozione e la musica non rapisce e resta lettera morta in partitura. L’impianto scenico, un contenitore. Una produzione di livello, proposta a Roma così come a Torino, non può trascurare l’equilibrio dell’insieme così che le tante idee di un regista di sicuro successo si spengono nella direzione dell’ungherese Henrik Nánási e in una compagnia di canto non oltre il meritevole.
Non, quindi, una sterile sfida di concetti, bensì di qualità condivisa e complessiva armonizzazione.”
My mentor, in Opera matter, Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini and my beloved fraternal friend, Maestro Gianni Maria Ferrini were invited by Maestro Michela De Amicis to participate in the jury of the 1st Opera singing international competition of Penne, which took place from 23rd to 25th June 2018 in this lovely little town of Abruzzo, near Pescara on the Adriatic Coast.
The participants came from allover the world, from Mexico to Japan, China and Italy. In the meantime, other classical music competitions involved young talents from Russia and other countries, among which…. Cambodia !
We were received by dynamic and cheerful Professor Lidia Dutillo, President of Le Muse Music School, who accompanied us to a lovely little cottage, Villa Emma, where the owners, Stefania and Giancarlo Delle Monache took care of us the way only Italians can do: with charm, discretion and warmth, and above all, an unforgettable breakfast, made of the utmost fresh products of the surrounding countryside.
On the first evening, Maestro Michela De Amicis, together with her two friends, Maestro Rosella Masciarelli and Maestro Angela Petaccia, brought us a marvellous gift: A concert with their six hands, entitled “Trio pianiste all’Opera”, three fantasies inspired by “Rigoletto”, “Traviata” and many Puccini’s Opera Arias. I was in heaven…. We ended up to have dinner together and as I was telling my admiration, Maestro Rosella Masciarelli held me their CD: such a special moment !
The jury of the Opera competition was presided by Maestro Leone Magiera, best friend of late world wide famous Luciano Pavarotti, and I had the occasion to meet with him and his very nice wife, Dottoressa Lidia La Marca as well as energetic and smiling Soprano Patrizia Orciani, accompanied by handsome tenor Carlo Baricelli. Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini and Maestro Gianni Maria Ferrini completed with their respective competences this pannel of the highest level. The singers were accompanied all along the competition by young and talented Maestro Piergiorgio Del Nunzio.
The three Opera singers who robbed my heart (and were selected as well by the jury) were Mariana Valdés from Mexico, Mae Hayashi from Yokohama and Ruiyang Xu from China. Not only were they exceptional voices, with a variety of colours and sensual shades, but they are three marvellously beautiful ladies. We all fell under their charms !
At the final evening, I was granted the pleasure to meet with 17 year-old Cambodian violonist, Sokhema Di Croce, originally from Battambang and who was adopted by her Roman parents when she was only 11 months. I was raptured by the power of her interpretation and I hope to re-meet her very soon in Rome. Maestro Gianni Maria Ferrini already promised her to organise a concert at Ariadimusica, in which she will be able to show her great talents.
After the gala concert, we got together with the “Happy Few” and had a funny and relaxing dinner in a place called “il Chicco Verde” and finished with a delicious ice-cream at “La Regina”, property of Signora Irma where my friends, Maestro Sacha De Ritis and his student, Mattia Carugno explained to me some tricks to play their favourite instrument: the traverse flute.
“La forza della realtà”, articolo del Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini in “L’Opera International Magazine”, Giugno 2018 su Billy Budd di Britten.
“Il poeta britannico Wystan Hugh Auden rimproverò Britten perché a suo avviso nel Billy Budd la tematica omosessuale, perno del complesso intreccio di sentimenti irrisolti e sospesi, non era espresso con maggiore determinatezza. Eppure, come ci dimostra l’attuale produzione in scena al Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, tutto vi è detto; implicito in una densa drammaturgia tratta dal postumo romanzo breve di Herman Melville rielaborato nel concetto da Edward Morgan Forster (l’autore di Maurice e di Passaggio in India) e nella teatralità da Eric Crozier, di attenta lettura nell’arcobaleno sonoro di Britten di dissolvenze incrociate, dialogo, scontro, negazione di una partitura densa, ora apparentemente soave o tormentata dove il sottinteso non è altro che un messaggio che aspetta di essere compreso. Al Teatro dell’Opera il Billy Budd, per la prima volta a Roma, è proposto nella versione definitiva in due atti, prologo ed epilogo del 1960, senza pregiudizi e al contrario aliena da troppo attuali compiacimenti.”
“Métamorphoses” or Neang Waddhana Devi, an article by Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, published in “L’Opera International Magazine”, June 2018, in Italian language on the last tournée of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia in Switzerland and France in May 2018.
To be noted the marvellous photos taken by Swiss photographer, Helmut Stampfli.
On Saturday 26th May 2018, in Phnom Penh, His Majesty Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath King Norodom Sihamoni and Her Majesty Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk granted me and Marquis Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini the honour of a Royal Audience in Khemarin Palace at 11.00 a.m.
Their Majesties had honoured us with beautiful Royal gifts, silver hand-made traditional plate and box, the re-published Book of the Music of His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk and the DVD on the Preah Sihanouk Museum.
We had then the honour to raise to Their Majesties’ High attention the reporting about our last activities in the field of opera: “L’elisir d’amore” in Manila last October and “Cavalleria rusticana” in Phnom Penh next September.
Before leaving, Their Majesties renewed Their best wishes for the success of Our projects and our souls felt deeply blessed by the Royal esteem and affection both Sovereigns granted us with.