La Donna del Lago at the Royal Opera House: Starry cast all set to make waves
Friday 17 May 2013
Gioachino Rossini's La Donna del Lago (“The Lady of the Lake”), which has just opened at the Royal Opera House, is an operatic rarity of the first order – hardly ever performed, according to its director, John Fulljames, because its leading roles are so demanding. “You have to have the right constellation of stars to pull it off,” he says. “That only happens once in a generation.”
With a cast led by two bel canto supernovas, the American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato (pictured) and the Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez, that occasion is now. The opera also requires a second team of tenor and mezzo in roles nearly as demanding, including a duet in which the two high tenors “exchange top Cs in every bar,” according to Fulljames.
This multinational galaxy is enlisted to represent a romantic ideal of Scottish nationalism, promulgated by Sir Walter Scott in the narrative poem on which the opera is based. The author set out to concoct an historical identity for his country, even if it was fictional: “He invented an idea of Scottishness that connected to the past, to ideas of knowing who we were then so that we know who we are now,” Fulljames says. Rossini himself was writing in Naples: “Scotland was far enough away to be strange, exotic and wonderful, beyond the bounds of civilisation.” And the opera's heroine, over whom the men in her life battle, essentially personifies Scotland itself.
'La Donna del Lago', Royal Opera House, London WC2 (roh.org.uk) to 11 June
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Michelle Watt's father says TV presenter killed herself because she was in constant pain
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
The last decade has produced just four UK festival headline acts
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture