sábado, 18 de noviembre de 2006

Mattila reivindica Manon Lescaut

WHEN CRITICS describe Karita Mattila, words like "intense," "passionate" and "incendiary" often come up. So it's no surprise that the Finnish soprano, in town to sing the title role of "Manon Lescaut" for San Francisco Opera, has strong feelings about Puccini's lyric drama.

"It's fabulous," Mattila says of the opera, which hasn't been produced by San Francisco Opera since 1988. "I love this production, and I love my character. I never get tired of this music -- it's just so beautiful, and so moving."
Mattila has high praise for the production, which originated at Lyric Opera of Chicago in September 2005 and is new to San Francisco. Directed by Olivier Tambosi and conducted by music director Donald Runnicles, it runs Nov. 19-Dec. 10 at the War Memorial Opera House.

"It's based on a traditional concept, and I think that's a great idea for this kind of piece," says Mattila, who appeared in the Chicago run and subsequent performances in Houston. "I think it has much to do with this character being a woman of that time. It's easier to find the meaning and the touching part of this character if you keep it in that concept. I've always been impressed by Olivier's enthusiasm."

Based on Abbe Prevost's novel, "Manon Lescaut" is the story of a young 18th century woman corrupted by society. Manon elopes with des Grieux, but leaves him to become the mistress of the wealthy rake Geronte. When she tries to return to her true love, she meets a tragic end.
Puccini (who wasn't the only composer to adapt the novel -- Massenet's "Manon" is based on the same story) wrote "Manon Lescaut" early in his career. It's not staged as often as his greatest hits, including "Tosca" or "La Boheme," but Mattila thinks it's a wonderful work -- and a universal one.

"It's a tragic story, a very sad story," she says. "Manon shows with her choices and behavior what life was like then for many women who were poor and dependent on men. She's a survivor in that sense. When we look at it today, we think 'Thank God, that's not the case anymore,' but you know what? I'm skeptical. In my lifetime, we have better laws, but the attitudes haven't changed that much -- to have equality in all levels of life, it's still a dream."

The challenge, she says, is to make the character fully dimensional. "So often, women like Manon are approached from only one dimension," she says. "She's bad, or she's cheap, or she's pure or she's lovely. Do we really want that today? It takes courage to dare to go deeper and find the true human being -- not always so rosy, but that's what makes it interesting."
Mattila, who is lauded for her extraordinary stage technique as well as the beauty of her lyric voice, was born in Somero, Finland, and trained at the Sibelius Academy. Acting, she says, was an essential part of the training. "I was lucky," she says. "In the early '80s when I was there, the acting teachers came from our Drama University. They were great actors and great teachers. I was so grateful to have that, and when I started working with great directors, those things I was taught were still in the background."

According to Mattila, many of today's young singers don't get that kind of aid. "It's sad these days that it's still not an essential part of operatic schooling. The most important thing I learned in my training is to know your body, to learn how to move. Directors don't have the time to teach you how to move! It takes a lot of training just to know how to cross the stage."

Mattila, who recently sang her first Tosca in Finland, describes Manon Lescaut as an even greater challenge. "The challenge of this role is that it lies a lot in the middle, yet it mustn't sound heavy," she explains. "It's very lyrical. Having just done my first Tosca, it's interesting to come back to this part and notice how different these two Puccini roles are. In a way, Tosca is easier; this is like everything in one part. It's a longer part, a busy part -- I'm having a change in every break, wig changes, costume changes! It's a busy, busy night."

Artículo completo aquí

Bea ya no tienes excusa para no escuchar la Manon Lescaut

1 comentario:

  1. Bueeeeeeno... si ella lo dice, le voy a hacer caso y me la voy a escuchar...



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