Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Aida" Under Finzi Pasca's Big-Top Production at the Mariinsky

"A minimalist and deeply philosophical show is perhaps not quite what most people would expect from a production of Verdi’s Aida directed by a man who has made an international career producing shows for a circus. Yet this is exactly what Swiss-born director Daniele Finzi Pasca is offering audiences at the Mariinsky Theater Concert Hall....What links Aida with Finzi Pasca’s show Corteo, with which Cirque du Soleil toured Russia last year, is a sense of surreal fantasy. In Corteo, the audience watches a clown’s dream about his death and funeral that is magically transformed into a carnival. Aida is designed in the same ethereal aesthetic. Firstly, the director has cleansed the production of any visual element that would link it to a particular era or ethnicity. The costumes of both the Egyptians and the Nubians border in style somewhere between circus grotesque and futuristic minimalism....In terms of spirit, Pasca’s Aida is both humane and intimate. The director seemingly chose to make Amneris a central character. Yekaterina Semenchuk’s performance strengthens Pasca’s ideas. Head and shoulders above the rest of the cast, Semenchuk dazzled as the pharaoh’s daughter, tormented by her jealousy, engrossed by her sorrow, troubled by her tardy remorse and devastated by her sudden loneliness. Her stage partners failed to create as emotionally captivating incarnations of their characters. Yekaterina Shimanovich was technically adroit as Aida, yet she remained unsettlingly estranged from her supposedly beloved Radames (Avgust Amonov). It did not help that Amonov chose to present a somewhat anemic portrayal of his character, as if trying to depict someone who leaves it up to the women around him to decide his fate. Aida’s emotional connection to her father (Edem Umerov) was far more compelling. Umerov created a powerful image of Aida’s father, Amonasro, the King of Nubia, at once noble and passionate." [Source]

Read an extensive interview with Daniele Finzi Pasca about the production by clicking here.

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