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'Sila' as a great start to an early music festival

‘Sila’ as a great start to an early music festival


Karl Heinrich Grauen’s opera “Silla” celebrated its premiere Friday evening at the Innsbrucker Festival der Alten Music directed by George Quander and directed by Alessandro de Marchi. The opera theater of Frederick II’s tomb persuaded the Tyrolean State Theater to design an original stage, committed singers and a weekly orchestra at the Innsbruck Festival.

If you collect treasure, it will probably be like this. In the spirit of his teacher Rene Jacobs, who also worked at the Innsbrucker Festival der Alten Music, de Marchi once again put an opera rarity on the program this year that has fallen into oblivion. The festival director, who will leave in 2023, has managed this project better than ever.

The direction of Georg Quander, who was able to maintain tension throughout, and Julia Dietrich’s lavish stage design, despite a rather simple plot, seem to be the perfect pitch for him and the festival orchestra. In any case, he made music with great precision and courage, capturing the right places and yet always with tremendous sensitivity regarding the incredible wealth of Silla’s tones in the context of Baroque opera.

The rather simple plot of the opera, whose texts were translated by Giovanni Pietro Tagliazcchi from French into Italian poetry for its premiere in 1753, did not detract from this. But on the contrary. The story in which the Roman dictator Sheila, brilliantly sung and played by Pejon Mehta, was not really happy despite his political victories and successes, and finally got his beloved Otavia, brilliantly embodied by Eleonora Bellucci, who forcibly extracted from her loved ones and brought him a lot. From space to other staging levels.

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Otavia’s lover, Postomeo, convincingly directed by Samuel Marinho, sparkled with dance-like vocal acrobatics, while “Otavia” was able to boast a grandiose acting, where, for example, a targeted hand movement and a devastating look from all the suffering and sadness of emotionally charged melodies to these the point. And there was enough of them: the two lovers’ duo were deeply affected, and the explored abyss suddenly collided head-on.

The design of the theater takes you back to the last phase of the Roman Republic, when Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who served as a model for Silla, worked. With the subtle lighting, which covered the stage in red when Otavia was worried about her lover, here is generally found just the right balance between historical and timeless atmosphere.

For the lead actors “Ottavia” and “Silla” there was perhaps the most joyous applause after about three hours of clear opera time, as all the actors, whether on stage or behind them, were rewarded with raucous cheers. De Marchi and his orchestra also received loud and long applause. That’s right.

Sheila by Karl Heinrich Grauen, text by Frederick II, translated by Giovanni Pietro Tagliazci into Italian poetics. Directed by George Coander. Music Direction: Alessandro De Marchi. Stage and costume design: Julia Dietrich. With Bejun Mehta – Silla, Valer Sabadus – Metello, Hagen Matzeit – Lentulo, Samuel Mariño – Postumio, Eleonora Bellocci – Ottavia, Roberta Invernizzi – Fulvia, Mert Süngü – Crisogono. More shows on August 7 and 9.