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Contact: irina.stanescu@ymail.com
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While waiting to go back to London...

...I read some more about Adriana Lecouvreur in an interview Charles Edwards gave. He talks a lot about that theatre in theatre concept for the opera and how McVicar exclaimed "that’s it, that’s exactly what this piece is about".
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Towards the end of the interview, Edwards says that he feels the last act as being the best (yey, so I'm not the only one thinking that. Good to know!) "In this last Act the theatre is still there but it’s dead, just like Adriana’s interest in theatre for her world of illusion has been shattered by what has happened between her and Maurizio. The theatre had been her whole life but she’s thrown it away, ripped out all the scenery and taken out the lights. It’s a bare, discarded toy"
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After reading the entire interview, watch also the video below. David McVicar tells us how he fell in love with Adriana Lecouvreur. The interview for The Guardian also includes fragments from the third act of the opera.
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Enjoy the BREAKFAST!

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It's the interview taken during BBC Breakfast tv show, on November, 16. A discussion about Adriana Lecouvreur, with some images from the production (btw, she really dies beautifully.. just felt the need to say it again even if it has been said for so many times), a few words about Madama Butterfly. And suspense regarding the future roles ... "there are some... not so many... maybe some heavier ones". But that's all the interviewers managed to get from her on that morning.
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Have a beautiful weekend!
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How is the weather like at Masada, in June?

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Masada at the Dead Sea, Israel.
June, 2011.
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Part of the Dead Sea and Jerusalem Opera Festival, the special Gala concert "A Star under the Stars" is scheduled for June, 10, 2011. Massimo Giordano will join Angela on stage. Accompanied by the Israeli Opera Orchestra, they will perform famous arias and duets from operas various operas. Tickets can only be booked in packages.

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Adriana. 22.11. Went, listened to, liked

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Less than 24 hours in London. Many told me “you’re crazy”. Am I? Maybe. But it’s my sweet craziness. I went to see Adriana Lecouvreur at Royal Opera House, the second performance of the run.
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But the story started before the beginning of the performance. I met a great lady. We’ve been emailing each other for some time now but never got to actually meet. So on Monday, West met East, having London as meeting point. Having in common one great passion (namely Angela's art), it was easy to get along. We decided to have lunch. Where should we go?..... Let’s go to Giovanni’s.
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I knew about this place but never got the chance to go there. Giovanni’s is a small Italian restaurant in Covent Garden, not very far away from Royal Opera. I would describe it more as a cozy living room, that gathers tons of beautiful memories. The walls are full of photos, most of them with autographs. From friends, maybe family, but most of them, from artists. Famous artists that came to eat here, who felt like being at home and left a thank you note. On one of the walls there are many pictures related to Angela and Roberto. I think that some of you say “THAT Giovanni’s”. Sure, that one. If you get in front of the wall you forget that you’re hungry and start admiring the photos. Or read the articles. One big Tosca poster, signed, seems to tell you “take a photooooo”.
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Lucky us, we were the only ones in the restaurant at 5:30pm. We sat down at the closest table to the photos. A nice young Italian lady came and we ordered two glasses of wine. A gentleman came back with our order. He asked “How come you know Angela?”. Probably the lady told him that we were staring at the wall. So we explained why we came to his restaurant and we’re about to go to Royal Opera to see Adriana. I guess we made him think we’re trustful because he started the story: how Angela and Roberto met, how he went to New York when they got married, how they still keep in touch with him…
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Then he left to bring the food we ordered while he was talking. Wait a minute, we said. He must be Giovanni. Great, isn’t it? For him the word “Angela” was like a password. The moment he heard it, story after story came out. Before the food came, we heard a voice saying “hey, guys, I changed the music. You’re listening to Angela now”. He brought the pasta and carried one talking. In a low voice, as if telling some sort of secrets, with Casta Diva as musical background. Imagine the atmosphere. The restaurant and that amazing storyteller were just for us. I would have loved to stay more, but we had to leave. Adriana was about to begin in 20 minutes. Pino, thank you so, so much!
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Adriana L, the sad story of an actress told with lots and lots of details. Very ingenious idea of using theatre in a theatre concept. This way you can see what’s both the stage and behind the stage. One particular moment is very interesting. At the beginning you see the backstage. Then Adriana has to go on stage to deliver the monologue and the stage on stage rotates a little bit to the left. Michonnet comments everything and while he’s singing you can see the characters moving on the stage and miming the words, but from behind. I also find interesting the fact that you get to see Adriana dressing up for the performance. What seems to be a dress turns out to be made of at least 4 or 5 pieces. I didn’t know that. So, moving stage, people coming up and down the stairs, improvised rooms for actors moving to the left, details of the theatre from back then (see the stage lighting with candles), many different costumes, jewellery, Adriana dressing up… lots of movement for somebody who sees the production for the first time.
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Be careful not to pay too much attention to the sets and forget about the voices and acting. So you’ll miss the first important arias, Adriana’s Io son l’umile ancella and Maurizio’s Dolcissima effigie. I have the habbit of noticing details on stage (some say it's good, some others, the opposite). And this time I got trapped.
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Act 2 is less animated. Now we’re in a villa. It’s more about the lighting here. This act brought the first dramatic moment, the confrontation between Adriana and Principessa de Buillon. I considered it the highlight of the first part of the opera. Very intense, that kind of music that makes you jump off the chair. That was great! Only that it was also the end of the first part of the opera. After the interval the drama stops as there’s a party going on. Nice ballet (but read the libretto first to have an idea what it’s about, otherwise you’ll ask yourselves what’s with the golden apple). And then, back to drama. The long waited monologue that helps Adriana get revenged. Interval again.. and it was the second time I felt taken away from the atmosphere because of stage/costume changes.
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I declare myself a fan of the fourth act. It gave me that this-is-it feeling. Butterflies in my stomach, some tears in the end. It was beautiful. I've been looking for that connection throughout the opera and that final duet and Adriana's death brought it. Quadruple doze of emotions added for the ending. First, Adriana dies, in the arms of Maurizio. Then he cries " morta, morta" (the effect should be devastating, and similar to "Mimi, Mimi" and "Manon"). Then the characters on the stage come to the edge, remove their hats and take a bow, as if saying "the show is over" and last but not least, the orchestra concludes in pianissimo. So, what do you think?
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I was in my happy mood again, living up there on my private cloud. London.. ROH... Angela... Jonas... couldn't ask for more. But this is not over yet. Once is not enough. I knew the music but everything else was new to me. I'll go back soon.
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P.S. 1 - Last night performance was filmed. Maybe there are plans for releasing a DVD.
P.S. 2 - to whom it may concern :)... the poster got home in one piece.
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And now, the photos. Taken during the curtain call and at the backstage door. Enjoy!
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Bonaventura Bottone
Alessandro Corbelli
Maurizio Muraro
Michaela Schuster
Jonas Kaufmann

Angela Gheorghiu





Mark Elder














Dedication to somebody that wanted to be there really bad but couldn't make it. Sorry :( But we thought of you!


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The sound of the premiere

For the curious minds and for those that can't get to London, here's how A&J&the orchestra sounded like on Thursday evening, the night of the Premiere of Adriana Lecouvreur at ROH. 4 tracks, the important arias and Adriana/Maurizio duet in act 1.
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What else?... Oh, yes. Many, many new photos on the Official Website. Check out the STAGE and PERSONAL sections. And more photos on Facebook.
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And the last thing. There were so many reviews (with different opinions, but everybody is entitled to have one, right?). And don't be too upset with Mr Morrison from The Times. I guess he had a really bad day if he got to blame Cilea himself for writing the opera. All the articles are in the Press section, in the column on the right side of the page. Or simply click on the picture below.


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Diva Fever. On and off stage

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Among all these reviews after the premiere of Adriana, here comes an interview published in the Evening Standard (Life&Style section). And taken some time before the Big Night. Besides the well know story (as they so much enjoy getting us back to Adam and Eve) of Angela's beginnings in Romania, how she got to London and so on, the interview is spiced up with some details from the private life. Somebody I know will be happy to find out that "Roberto and I are still friendly. We are still together when we have the time". Well, this is my only note related to the private life that everybody is so interested in. You have to read the interview/article to see if there's more out there.
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Along with the interview there was also a photo shooting. A little bit of hustle in the beginning, but everything ended up well, as the writer (Lydia Slater) tells us, also visibly charmed by Angela's appearance "The reason we're running late, it seems, is that Angela has let loose her (never very dormant) inner diva, and after complaining about the dress, the make-up, the pictures and the draught backstage, has disappeared to her dressing room. The crew are looking distinctly harassed. 'Has she started throwing things yet?' enquires a passing stagehand, deepening the general gloom. Clearly, Angela is planning to live up to her nickname of 'Draculette'.
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Suddenly, she sweeps back to us, her mood completely altered. She flings off her coat to reveal an hour-glass figure encased in a shimmering gold dress, tosses back her raven mane and poses like a pro. Physically, she reminds me of Paloma Picasso: she's not classically beautiful but strong, with big dark eyes, a proud nose and large red-lipped mouth. The Draculette tag may refer, at least partly, to her comedy Romanian accent, but her voice is soft, sexy and beautiful to listen to. "
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Enough with spoiling the pleasure of reading the interview :). Go to Evening Standard web page and enjoy it. If there was a photoshooting, maybe there are more than two photos somewhere in the cyber space, right?
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5 stars for "Adriana" from The Independent

UPDATE - more reviews coming...


Blog The Independent - by Edward Seckerson - "Angela Gheorghiu has one of the finest natural instruments in the world"

Mark Ronan's Theatre Reviews - by Mark Ronan - "Gheorghiu and Kaufmann were wonderful — she was dramatically terrific, exhibiting a lovely tone, and he sang like a god"

5* also from Music OMH - by Melanie Eskenazi - "The famous set piece arias were sung with exquisite phrasing and eloquence, ‘Io son l’umile ancella’ in particular as direct and individual as if it had never been sung before"

New photos, also @C.Ashmore on The Arts Desk - by David Nice - "It takes a diva to play a diva"

4* from Barry Middleton, Evening Standard - "Drama on and off stage" - and one more photo, this time signed by Alastair Muir

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"Gheorghiu's handling of this scene is flawless, her voice soaring and falling back in despair like a wounded bird" says Michael Church (The Independent) about the last scene of Adriana.
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Reviews:

The Independent - First night, Adriana Lecouvreur
Classical Iconoclast - Adriana Lecouvreur - first thoughts - Her de capos are lovely, and she gets to show how many different characters she can express, from trusting lover to the mad scene and dramatic death..
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All photos @Catherine Ashmore/Royal Opera House
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