The soprano Béatrice Uria-Monzon returns to the stage of the Théâtre du Capitole in “La Gioconda”, an opera by Ponchielli, for the first time in Toulouse. Five performances are scheduled from September 24 to October 3.
Béatrice Uria-Monzon plays the title role of “La Gioconda”, in an impressive staging by Olivier Py.
At the Théâtre du Capitole, do you have to feel a bit at home?
It’s true, I know the house well. I’ve done quite a few things here: Werther, Don Carlo, Madame Angot’s Daughter, one of my first contracts, Carmen, several times, Macbeth, more recently. It is a theater, in Toulouse, which has a capital importance in the French lyric landscape. There have always been very good productions and the public is knowledgeable and demanding. I would really like to thank the director of the Théâtre du Capitole, Christophe Ghristi, who gives French singers a chance. There was a period before him when no French singer was engaged in this theater. It was incomprehensible.
You take over this role of Gioconda that you sang in 2019 at La Monnaie de Bruxelles, in this staging by Olivier Py. “The most difficult role I have ever played” you said at the time …
It’s a role that I was able to tackle when I changed vocal range. It is difficult because it requires immense vocal amplitude. I go from very low to very high notes in the same sentence. The 4th act is quite formidable with “Suicidio”, the bravery aria of the Gioconda, which comes almost at the end of the opera. And in the 4th act Gioconda is on stage all the time…
Your partner is the Mexican tenor Ramon Vargas, who sings the role of Enzo for the first time …
We know each other well. I have sung several times with him, notably Don Carlo in Houston, Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Verdi’s Requiem in Orange… He is an exceptional partner. Her voice is a perpetual caress, I often tell her. He has a velvet voice, wonderful sensitivity and emotion.
Tell us about your character, Gioconda. How do you see her?
I rehearsed the role with a pianist who told me: “this woman is monstrous!”. I do not agree. Gioconda is a deeply generous woman, guided by Christian charity and completely devoted to her mother, who is blind. She has immense love for Enzo, who is in love with another, Laura. Gioconda wants to kill her rival but she gives up. Finally, failing in everything she tries to accomplish, she decides to kill herself …
Olivier Py is a director who is not afraid of excess. The Théâtre du Capitole does not recommend this show to children under 16. Why ?
It is a precaution, I think, of Mr. Ghristi compared to people who could rebel that there are some naked bodies on stage, which seems ridiculous to me, especially in our time … Olivier Py is turned to something very dark. He chose to interfere in the meanders of the human soul, in the dark sides of suffering and passions. The plot takes place in Venice, in the 17th century, during the Inquisition. We are in the shallows, not on Saint Mark’s Square to party! It is the Venice of intrigues, of vengeance, of the pyres. The perfect backdrop for a decadent opera. I encourage people to come, because it is an extraordinary work, which has an exceptional vocal set of six soloists, and the show is magnificent, with the choirs and the Orchester du Capitole conducted by a great conductor. , Roberto Rizzi-Brignoli.
A flamboyant opera
Amilcare Panchietti (1834-1886), worthy heir to Verdi, delivers with La Gioconda one of the most flamboyant operas in the Italian repertoire. This opera is entering the Théâtre du Capitole for the very first time, in a surprising staging by Olivier Py, with the impressive sets and costumes imagined by Pierre-André Weitz. This show premiered at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels in 2019, with Béatrice Uria-Monzon in the role of Gioconda. In this new production, Mexican tenor Ramon Vargas plays the role of Enzo, alongside Armenian mezzo-soprano Varduhi Abrahamyan (Laura). The Capitol Orchestra is conducted by Roberto Rizzi-Brignoli.