Nabucco review: An unmerited revival of a poor production

The modern dress makes little sense and where are the British singers? The Royal Opera’s Nabucco is an unmerited revival of a poor production

Nabucco

Royal Opera House, Londen Until January 23

Gradering:

After the auspicious debut in Tosca of Tunbridge Wells’s Freddie De Tommaso, an English singer getting his due at the Royal Opera, it was business as usual with this Nabucco.

An unmerited revival of a poor production by the Italian Daniele Abbado, it had so many Russian and Slavonic singers, reading the list is like taking an eye test.

Abbado’s modernish dress take appears to have something to do with a post-holocaust world, but lacks clarity and makes little sense.

The singers are led by Liudmyla Monastyrska (hierbo, reg, with Vasilisa Berzhanskaya and Najmiddin Mavlyanov) as Abigaille, Nabucco’s renegade daughter

The singers are led by Liudmyla Monastyrska (hierbo, reg, with Vasilisa Berzhanskaya and Najmiddin Mavlyanov) as Abigaille, Nabucco’s renegade daughter

The veteran Israeli conductor Daniel Oren makes yet another, na my mening, unmerited return to Covent Garden.

He contributes his usual rough-and-ready performance, which perhaps works better in Nabucco than elsewhere, because this Verdi piece is itself rough-and-ready.

The singers are led by Liudmyla Monastyrska as Abigaille, Nabucco’s renegade daughter.

Great things were predicted for her in the Noughties, most of which have not happened. But it’s still a big and striking voice, even if now a bit frayed at the edges.

Also of interest was Alexander Vinogradov’s High Priest. A singer possessed of all the notes in this low-lying part is always welcome.

As for the rest, it’s hard to know why it was felt necessary to import them, except for a prejudice against British or British-based singers.

It’s actually disgraceful that only one small part here is assigned to a British singer. Casting at Covent Garden needs a good shake-up.

The chorus was masked, and some performances have been cancelled. An unjustifiable decision, for which Covent Garden may expect Government compensation, but doesn’t deserve it.

Anna Netrebko is due to join the cast for the January performances. But I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.

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