September 13 & 15
Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta / Malta
Opera Spanga presents Aida, Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece, where war comes into conflict with love.
In this opera God is hitched up to the chariot. The invisible one leads the troops. Murder and plundering are done in his name. Opera Spanga presents Verdi’s Aida in a time which demands awareness. The great world conflicts, the most obvious examples being the wars in Syria, Yemen, Nigeria and other hot spots are brought almost physically closer through Corina van Eijk’s production. Aida is about war, hate, love and forgiveness. Verdi wrote this opera as an obvious appeal for peace. It is no coincidence that peace ('Pace') is the last word of the opera. This series of performances and the peripheral program 'De Rottige Meente als podium' demonstrate how useless, how disastrous are hate, vengeance and war.
It would be nice if the audience were convinced that war is an outdated instrument. This is a conclusion which each and every person can draw in his own life. As Brecht said, "Stell dir vor, es ist Krieg, und keiner geht hin ..." ("Suppose they gave a war and nobody came.") We are all responsible for war and its perpetuation.
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Leeuwarder Courant*****: 'Van Eijk applies humor, reduces the heaviness of the love drama, knows how to surprise without violating the story line and without allowing Verdi´s music to be twisted. (…) But as soon as the drama continues Van Eijk keeps the staging simple and clearly structured. She carefully doses out her remarkable concoctions. Everything is in excellent balance.'
Theaterkrant****: `It is a fine performance musically as well. Tjalling Wijnstra conducts Filharmonie Noord with great nuance and feeling. The orchestra is not especially large, which only serves to enhance the sound. I have never heard the famous triumphal march played with such subtlety. (…) Corina van Eijk has given the opera new levels of meaning and demonstrates how war makes it possible for dark forces to take over the leadership. Verdi would certainly not disapprove.´
NRC****: `Aida (1871) by Giuseppe Verdi, performed by Opera Spanga, breaks with every convention which has been the case with director Corina van Eijk since 1989. (…) Right in the very first scene the staging focuses in on the love triangle drama. Superb is the mezzo-soprano Eva Kroon as she discovers that her great love Radames (tenor Toa Tong) is secretly in love with Aida, soprano Maribeth Diggle. (…) This Aida provides us with a moving triple Liebestod, ethereally interpreted by dwindling softly flowing music and fervent singers.´
De Volkskrant****: `The whole cast acts convincingly and the singing is especially strong. Diggle´s warm-blooded soprano and Tao Tong´s lively tenor lay the groundwork, while Eva Kroon as Amneris gradually adds depth. Marcel van Dieren and Peter Michailov sing royally as the two kings, as do Sinan Vural and Francesca Aquilina, who represent the clergy. The chorus provides both soldiers and priests and even throws in a pilates ballet.´