Tuesday, June 14, 2016

SFO Don Carlo: Media Roundup and Further Commentary

Michael Fabiano (Don Carlo) and Mariusz Kwiecien (Rodrigo)
San Francisco Opera, Don Carlo
©Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

My Don Carlo review, filed late yesterday, won't be up until this evening or tomorrow, owing to technical issues at SFCV. is now posted. Briefly, it's a great musical achievement, not so much on the theatrical side.

Here are links to those reviews that I know about; in the absence of mine, just read Joshua Kosman's. He's more concise and a lot snappier than I am, but we are in accord, all the way to telling the company to dump the Sagi production, already.

Or, in my opinion, get a better director; I dislike the sets but they can be made to work. I spell out more of the foolishness of the production and direction than Joshua; that all the characters do is stalk around the stage before they stand and sing is the least of the problems.

The SFO press photos even capture a scene that shouldn't have happened, another laugh-inducer during a deadly serious scene. This is the garden scene, where the only blade that should be drawn is Rodrigo's dagger, but this production somehow has Eboli drawing Carlo's sword and threatening him with it.

Michael Fabiano (Don Carlo) and Nadia Krasteva (Eboli)
San Francisco Opera, Don Carlo
©Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

I noted in my review that Fabiano and Martinez both needed more help than they got from Sagi, to which I must add: boy howdy. Fabiano spends an awful lot of time with his chin in the air singing to the chandelier instead of to her. Their facial expressions hardly changed in Act I; there's a bit in there where he chases her around the table trying to kiss her, which, honestly, I just don't think is happening in the 16th c. between a Spanish prince and a French princess. Not to mention: why is there a table in the middle of a forest? For a picnic, maybe? And why are they wandering around in the middle of winter without cloaks?

I'd also like to know whether there's historical precedent for the Inquisition hanging puppets as part of an auto-da-fe. I mean, maybe there's a reason for having a few heretics and a couple of puppets marching to the scaffold.

And I gotta say, I fell over at Joshua Kosman's observation that the auto-da-fe looks more like a farmer's market.

You get it: there's a lot in the direction that doesn't make any sense at all. There's no attention to detail, and that's why there's so much unmotivated wandering around on stage. This works for Pape in the King's Act IV scene; it's late, he's restless and unhappy and haunted. For everyone else, not really.


JSC said...

I've heard this will be the last staging of the Sagi production so whenever it's done here again it will be a new production. :-)

Lisa Hirsch said...