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La straniera - The Stranger women...

By Matthias Loinig

La Straniera, an opera in two acts, by Vincenzo Bellini, delighted visitors to the Wiener Musikverein yesterday (Monday).

On the occasion of the first performance of La Straniera in February 1829 the then 28-year-old Bellini wrote to his librettist: "My dear Roman. It went better than we could ever have dreamed of. We reached for the stars.

The opera was back then, a great success. But it almost ended up being forgotten. The reason could be that there was rarely a singer who could reach the extraordinary vocals needed.

But then she arrived, from the distance a quiet trill, which turned into a wonderful vocalisation enough to bring you to tears.

Slowly pacing from the left into the exquisite setting of the Goldener Musikvereinsaal in a crimson coloured dress – the Queen of the Belcanto! La Gruberova.

At the end of the first act the audience of the world famous Vienna Musikverein was on their feet giving a standing ovation.  And rightly so! The way Gruberova uses her voice, the tones she conjours up, how she touches the audience and the atmosphere she creates is one of a kind.

Particularly worth distinguishing on this occasion is Jose Bros, who has become a solid partner to her.

Their voices greatly complement each other. The pair have become known as the "Dream Team of Belcanto".

Paolo Gavanelli also had the audience raving with his warm, dark timbre tones. The only slight criticism was that during his first meeting with Alaide as well as in the closing scene meeting with her he did not look into her eyes, but into the musical score.

It was clever of Gruberova to chose this Opera for her 45th stage jubilee.

Alaide's musical and artistic interpretation is not comparable with anything else and sets new boundaries for singers who sets their sites on these roles in the future.

In June the opera will be performed in Zurich also directed by Christoph Loy.

In January 2015 the production is set to return to Vienna to be performed at Theater an der Wien.

Whatever way Gruberova performs and however she sings, she always thrills her audience.

At the end of the performance the entire audience took to their feet with an astounding standing ovation for their queen of the show Gruberova.

Vienna Times

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