Chisinau National Opera’s staging of Verdi’s third opera went down well but then, Ellen Kent who now seems to be directing the productions she brings over from Moldova, leaves the operas in the visual form the composer knew.
Audience-friendly, if you like, although she might have had a word with the designer here over some strange costuming, not to mention Zaccaria’s impossibly ornamental beard!
She goes for spectacle, too. Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem is clearly going up flames at the end of act one and the thunderbolt from above that unhinges a raving Nabucco after proclaiming himself God in act two is effectively wrought.
Suspension of belief is necessary, for instance, that you are on the banks of the Euphrates with the fixed temple-cum-Babylonian palace set where lighting could have been used to greater effect.
What appeared to be a chorus of 14 sang superbly throughout, while one of the non-singing extras in the choral scenes was highly conspicuous, wearing glasses – in 587 BC!
Petru Racovita was marvellous in the title role – wonder why he has not had more of an international career? He is an outstanding singer and actor with a quality baritone voice, Dio di Giuda in act four eliciting entirely merited bravos.
He was matched by a hugely impressive dramatic soprano, Olga Busuioc as Abigaille who tackled the role’s fearsome vocal demands fearlessly, if a little judiciously in places perhaps by playing the character with a conscience rather outright scenery-chewer. Her wistfully sung aria Anch’io dischiuso un giorno in act two served as a good example.
Iurie Maimescu delivered a rather uneven account of the great bass aria Tu sul labbro shortly after, but otherwise was a vocally authoritative Zaccaria and the rest of the cast ranged from good to passable, and wooden in typical Chisinau fashion.