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Parsifal, Wagner, Richard
D: Marcelo Lombardero
C: Alejo Pérez
Parsifal

Argentine stage director Marcelo Lombardero answered Parsifal's enigmatic question of “Who is the Grail?” by literally replacing the mythical chalice with the suffering celebrant: a blood-stained Amfortas was lifted by ropes and hooks several feet above the proscenium during the consecration in Act I. His Christ-like body shone in contrast to the darkness of the abandoned power plant chosen by the Knights (dressed as contemporary soldiers in combat fatigues) to celebrate their ritual. The ceremony was ordered by a Titurel in military uniform projected in an old-fashioned newsreel onto a small screen at the back of the stage. No Argentine would have failed to associate Amfortas’s pain with the tortures suffered by political prisoners not very long ago. A further updating of the Grail myth to uncomfortable domestic realities was the staging of the outside world surrounding the temple. It consisted of a desolate forest of ruined buildings, among them the courtyard of a forsaken hotel beside a sombre lagoon where Gurnemanz had taken refuge. Lombardero tells me that this eerie landscape evokes the environmental apocalypse suffered by Epecuén, a spa town south of Buenos Aires, flooded in 1985 when an adjacent salt lake burst its banks after a long period of rain. The video accompanying the interlude leading to Act I’s second scene showed the remains of Epecuén after the waters receded nearly twenty-five years later. In Act III, redemption was in the air when green buds timidly started emerging in the courtyard, as if summoned by the Good Friday music. The glowing end was staged as a ritual shared not only with the Knights, but also with the audience: a spotlight left the stage to wander around the hall, stopping on a young child standing in the middle of the stalls. At that moment, the Knights suddenly advanced to the edge of the proscenium to sing their final ecstasy. Against this landscape of suffering and redemption, Klingsor's illusory world in Act II is a gigantic transparent globe with esoteric graphs projected from the iPad of a magician in a smart grey suit. Inside this bubble, flower maidens wearing leotards with thin LED lights running from shoulder to ankle rehearsed their enticements in mechanical contortions rigorously synchronized with the score. Real seduction was then practiced by Kundry on a Parsifal sitting on Klingsor’s throne as if on a shrink's sofa. After kissing him, Kundry immediately took some distance to observe his reaction, as if hoping for the refusal needed to enable her own salvation. Then Parsifal fell to his knees and the bubble burst and fell apart. A solid cast was assembled to cope with four performances over only seven days. Christopher Ventris sang a sharply-focused Parsifal, and convincingly acted Lombardero's proposal for an initially untidy and afterwards soberly self-contained redeemer. Stephen Milling was a forceful Gurnemanz, whose polished phrasing was replete with meaningful emphasis. Nadja Michael excelled as Kundry thanks to her richly, sensual voice and superb dynamic control and Héctor Guedes sang Klingsor with a deep voice and penetrating phrasing. Finally, Ryan McKinny's Amfortas was simply irresistible in his heart-breaking plea as the human Grail at the heart of this insightful and moving production.

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04 December 2015www.operanews.comAgustín Blanco-Bazán
Ariadne auf Naxos, Strauss
D: Marcelo Lombardero
C: Alejo Pérez
Ariadne auf Naxos – Modern and on Location in Buenos Aires

Musically the production was in the hands of Alejo Pérez, who brought a correct reading of the colourful and melodic score. The cast, like the production, was a local one, apart from the role of the Composer, which was well sung by America mezzo Jennifer Holloway and that of Zerbinetta. Russian soprano Ekaterina Lekhina gave a brilliant account of her famous aria ‘Grossmächtige Prinzessin’ but came across as somewhat brittle in her acting. As the Prima Donna – with her poodle in the Prologue – and Ariadne, Carla Filipcic Holm brought power and beauty of line to the role and Gustavo López Manzitti was up to the demands of the Tenor and Bacchus. Hernán Iturralde was a solid Music Master and likewise Pablo Urban as the Dance Master and the three players – Luciano Garay, Santiago Martinez, Iván Garcia – and three nymphs – Laura Pisani, Florencia Machado, Victoria Gaeta – well played their respective roles.

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07 September 2019seenandheard-international.comJonathan Spencer Jones
Lady Sarashina, Eötvös
C: Peter EötvösAlejo Pérez
World Premiere
Création mondiale de Lady Sarashina à l’Opéra de Lyon. Le résultat ? Un enchantement.

Dans l’expression des autres personnages, le choix des autres solistes se révèle d’une rare qualité. [...] Quelles couleurs chez le baryton Peter Bording s’il est Le Garde, Le Bouffon, Le messager, Le Père ou le Gentilhomme.

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01 May 2008owl-ge.chJacques Schmitt
Lady Sarashina - The Financial Times

The house orchestra, conducted by Eötvös, plays like a dream - precise, alert, dedicated - and the vocal trio - Ilse Eerens, Salomé Kammer and Peter Bording - is simply superb. These are the high standards we have come to expect in Lyon. And though it kills me to say something positive about amplification, even the passages where the trio uses hand mikes to whisper are eerily beautiful.

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11 March 2008Francis Carlin
Lady Sarashina, Eötvös
D: Ushio Amagatsu
C: Peter EötvösAlejo Pérez
Lady Sarashina

On ne peut que louer la grande homogénéité du quatuor vocal réuni, avec Mary Plazas dans le rôle-titre, l’excellent baryton Peter Bording, la voix cristalline de Ilse Eerens et le chaud mezzo de Salomé Kammer.

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23 February 2009Philippe Houbert
Une calligraphie musicale

Très à l'aise vocalement et musicalement sur une partition pleine de subtilités, les trois chanteurs, la soprano Ilse Eerens, la mezzo-soprano Salomé Kammer, et le baryton Peter Bording passent avec naturel d'un personnage – ou d'un animal - à l'autre. Peter Bording imite un chat avec pour seul accessoire un masque blanc qui s'envole dans les cintres lorsque le chat meurt.

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14 February 2009www.forumopera.comDiane Raillard

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