Quite good, but sadly this is not one of Caballe's finest hours
Time will tell if Medea does become one of my favourite operas or not, through Maria Callas I only heard the opera relatively recently. But I do like it, the music is beautiful and Medea herself is a very interesting character in my eyes. This production from 1989 is not perfect by all means, but it's not bad either. I did like the atmospheric sets and quite regal-looking costumes. The orchestral playing was stylish and nuanced as it ought to be, and the conducting shows fairly relaxed but not plodding tempos. Of the principals, Yelena Obraztsova's firmly sung Neris was the standout. Jose Carreras' voice was not as beautiful as it once was, understandably as he was undergoing leukaemia treatment, but he does use it musically and there is some evidence of lovely singing. He emotes well too, and still is a handsome presence. The production is too darkly lit though at times, and some of the staging seemed rather static so I wasn't always fully connected to the drama. But the biggest problem was the Medea of Montserrat Caballe, and I do say this with a heavy heart, because Caballe is one of my favourite sopranos for her beautiful voice and the fact that she has always been one of the most musical sopranos I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. Unfortunately, this wasn't her at her finest hour, and it wasn't just because she isn't in her best vocal shape, with wayward intonation and incomprehensible diction(though her expression and musicality are thankfully still intact). I also think Medea is the wrong role for her too, she never looks as though she is particularly engaged with the character often having a very stand-and-sing quality to her presence and I think her interpretation's too "soft" considering that Medea is somewhat of a tigress. So overall, quite disappointing but disappointing at the same time. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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