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Welsh National Opera opens its spring season at the New Theatre on February 11 with a revival of the controversial '70s production of Madam Butterfly with Sicilian soprano Nuccia Focile singing the title role.
But for me the star of the show is Nucia Focile who has three melodies by Manuel de Falla.
However, the fine Nathalie Paulin, a late addition replacing Sicilian soprano Nuccia Focile, wasn't worldly wise enough to carry the role of Despina or vivacious enough to keep the drama energized.
With Nuccia Focile, advertised in the title role, taken ill just an hour before the start, understudy Camilla Roberts shifted from the much smaller part of Laura, and did a very good job of it.
30pm at The Cawdor Hotel Nuccia Focile (Soprano) |Gary Matthewman (Piano) Friday, July 18, 7pm at St Teilo's Church Cor y Waun Ddyfal |Saturday, July 19, 7pm at St Teilo's Church Charlie Lovell-Jones (violin), director: Gareth Jones Music for a Summer |Evening Sunday, July 20, 7pm for 7.
The concert at St David's Hall will also feature a selection of sopranos - Naomi Harvey, Nuccia Focile, Claire Hampton and Fiona Harrison.
The cast for this revival includes Nuccia Focile, singing the title role, Susan Bickley, originally from Liverpool, who sang Storge in Katie Mitchell's production of Jephtha for WNO, and Peter Hoare, who created the role of Mal in James MacMillan's opera, The Sacrifice, premiered by WNO in 2007.
I'll also be singing again with Paul Charles Clarke (who recently appeared opposite his wife, Nuccia Focile in a French production of Don Carlos).
Otherwise, Nathan Gunn (Guglielmo), Lauren McNeese (Dorabella) and Nuccia Focile (Despina) acted amusingly but with little vocal distinction, while Thomas Allen (Alfonso) was practically voiceless--a temporary indisposition, we hope.
Nuccia Focile is ideally cast as Butterfly, girlish idealism maturing into implacable determination.
CARDIFF: St David's Hall (029 2087 8444), The Three Welsh Tenors (Rhys Meirion, Alun Rhys-Jenkins, Aled Hall), Richard Allen, Sam Furness, Huw Llewellyn, Joshua Owen Mills, Nuccia Focile, Naomi Harvey, Claire Hampton And Fiona Harris.
Ten Welsh Tenors are back by popular demand with a show-stopping concert, supported by sopranos Naomi Harvey, Nuccia Focile, Claire Hampton and Fiona Harrison.
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