Opera Holland Park – Fedora

Fedora – Opera in three acts [Libretto by Arturo Colautti, after the play by Victorien Sardou]

Fedora – Yvonne Kenny
Loris Ipanov – Aldo Di Toro
De Sirieux – Stephen Gadd
Olga – Natasha Marsh
Desire / Barone Rouve – Andrew Freidhoff
Gretch – Malcolm Rivers
Cirillo – Grant Doyle
Boroff – Nicholas Butterfield
Lorek – Jean Claude Ohms
Dimitri – Catrin Johnsson
Nicolo – Lynton Black
Sergio – Adam Green
Lazinski – Marco Fatichenti

Opera Holland Park Chorus

City of London Sinfonia
Brad Cohen

John Lloyd Davies – Director
Bob Bailey – Designer
Mike Gunning – Lighting

Reviewed by: Paul Hutchinson

Reviewed: 6 June, 2006
Venue: Opera Holland Park, London

Giordano’s “Fedora” (first performed in 1898) has taken its time getting a showing at Holland Park. It’s true that it doesn’t have those ingredients we expect in Italian verismo opera – arias, choruses, etc. – to make one stand up and cheer. But, better late than never.

“Fedora” has just one main aria for the tenor and nothing for the heroine. Still, it can boast a wonderful sequence in Act Two where Fedora grills Loris about his past, to the sound of a Chopinesque piano solo – very subtle.

The eponymous heroine was sung by none other than the outstanding Australian diva, Yvonne Kenny. From her (unexpected) entrance in the first act, to her final breath in the arms of her lover Loris in Act Three, one was never in doubt, even for a second, that here is a true artiste – good characterisation, movement, and a truly fine voice. One could cavil at a few cut-glass vowels in her intonation, but that might be thought as Beckmesserish!

Tenor Aldo Di Toro, another singer hailing from the antipodes, is likewise new to Holland Park and equally welcome. He sang well, making his solo in Act One, “Amor ti vieta”, a point of departure for the rest of the evening. In Act Three, his alarm at Fedora’s gradual revelations of her complicity was as restrained as it was sudden.

Other accolades go to Stephen Gadd’s Di Serieux, which was especially well-matched with Natsha Marsh’s fun-loving Princess Olga – who was for her part excellent in her Act Two solo.

The minimalist sets are questionable, but Brad Cohen, fully au fait with Giordano’s score, guided the City of London Sinfonia with consummate ease.

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