Of great musical finesse, Simon Boccanegra is an opera that takes us on a voyage to the world of the Genoese doge - a politician and former corsair, redeemed by his relationship with his daughter. After his striking production of Aribert Reimann’s Lear and Carmen by Georges Bizet, Calixto Bieito returns to the Paris Opera to take up this neglected work by Verdi, offering us a reading as sensitive as it is enlightening.
[...] Simon Boccanegra differs noticeably from Verdi’s other operas, such as Il Trovatore or La Traviata. The music is less well-known ... Verdi concentrated here on the characters and their personalities. He sought to underline their depth of feeling. This makes it a very complex opera from a psychological point of view, posing numerous enigmas concerning Mankind and human nature. Verdi stripped away the varnish of appearances in order to question the very essence of his characters and reveal their intimate natures. This is also true of the treatment of the father-daughter relationship which also appears in several of his other works. In Simon Boccanegra, however, it is more thoughtful and profound. [...] said director Calixto Bieito in an interview on this new production at Opera National de Paris.
[...] The sea is an essential element in the opera Simon Boccanegra. In Calixto Bieito’s production, that sea has retreated, leaving a huge ship's hull washed up on the stage. The construction of this set was the fruit of a complex and meticulous process, involving almost all the craftspeople in the various workshops—from the research and design office to the workshops specialising in ironwork, carpentry, composite materials, painting, and sculpture, etc. This was an extremely “technological” set: To build it, a three-dimensional scan of a scale model of the ship, created by the sculpture workshop, allowed the design office to create a blueprint for the surface of the hull and its inner structure. Using these components as a starting point, a large number of metallic pieces were laser-cut and then assembled. Some thirty moulds were prepared to create the metal plates for the hull. These plates were also designed in a way that they could be used as a projection surface for the videos that director Calixto Bieito is so fond of. [...] said José Sciuto, Deputy Artistic Director of the Workshops, about the ship built for the production.
Anita Hartig is Maria/Amelia on December 1 and 4. More details and tickets on the website of Opera National de Paris.