Tag: Moldoveanu

Interview with Vasile Moldoveanu

Fellow opera-blogger Despre Opera has done an interview with Romanian tenor Vasile Moldoveanu and translated it into English. Moldoveanu discusses the arts in Romania under communism, his experiences at the Met in the 80s, cultural differences with regard to support for the arts, and the various roles – including Don Carlos – that he has sung. Go have a look!

Verdi – Don Carlos / Moldoveanu, Scotto, Troyanos / Metropolitan Opera 1980 (3)

(Previous section here.)

So. What ‘acting’ means in an operatic context has clearly changed over the past thirty-two years. We expect more subtlety and perhaps a little less stiff grandeur than audiences a few decades ago. As a result the emotional tone of this production seems strange, even stilted: Carlos, for example, is pitched so much as the ‘manly romantic hero’ that he comes off as a bit of a stuffed shirt.

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Verdi – Don Carlos / Moldoveanu, Scotto, Troyanos / Metropolitan Opera 1980 (2)

(Previous section here.)

Our Carlos here is Vasile Moldoveanu. And he sounds very nice. But Carlos is a little too much in control of himself. He is sometimes tormented, of course, because he’s Don Carlos. But neither his sudden and ill-advised infatuation with Elisabeth nor his sudden and ill-advised political awakening nor any of the rest of it ever ring true in terms of characterization. Moldoveanu just looks concerned and/or slightly rattled most of the time. And where you might expect Carlos to be warm or enthusiastic, it doesn’t quite happen – Posa doesn’t even rate a hug when he shows up. They sort of touch arms and back off. It looks like a version of ‘manly’ emotional control, but Carlos is not really a person who has a great deal of that, if you think about it.

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Verdi – Don Carlos / Moldoveanu, Scotto, Troyanos / Metropolitan Opera 1980 (1)

If you are looking for the opposite of Regietheater, as I was doing this weekend, a Met production from the early 1980s is a pretty safe bet. You go into it expecting a certain style of soothing literal-mindedness, and that’s pretty much what you get in this case.

So. This DVD of Don Carlos is well worth anyone’s time. I ended up liking it for what I think are the right reasons and disliking for what I am sure are the wrong ones.

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