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November 28, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014

Juventus Lyrica revisit Cherubini’s Medée

A scene from Medée as staged by Juventus Lyrica at the Avenida.
By Alfredo Cernadas
For The Herald
Composer’s masterpiece premièred at the Colón forty-five years back

As in the first decades of the last century, opera is blooming in Buenos Aires. Not only in the Colón, of course, but also in several other places, such as the Teatro Avenida.

There, Juventus Lyrica are celebrating their 15th anniversary with a season that, as usual, includes war horses and novelties — such as this year’s local première, Luigi Cherubini’s Medée.

A première of sorts, actually, for this composer’s masterpiece had been premièred at the Colón forty five years back with Gwyneth Jones and Carlos Cossuta.

It was staged as Medea, the Italian version of the work, originally staged in French as Médée in Paris, where the composer lived during most of his career.

It opened in 1796 and was a huge success. The work’s career lost its momentum until the 20th century, when it was revived for Maria Callas and then Gwyneth Jones and Eileen Farrell.

The story is based on the ancient tragedy by Euripides and it deals with the passionate love of the Colchian sorceress Medea for Jason, the treacherous Greek hero, who arrives in Colchis in quest of the golden fleece.

Both meet and she fall hopelessly in love. In order to help him get the fleece, she betrays her own people and leaves her country with Jason, the children she bore him, and her nurse, Neris.

They arrive in Corinth, where Jason meets and falls for Glauce, the daughter of King Creon. He decides to leave Medea and marry the princess, much to his wife’s displeasure. She decides to kill her and the two children she gave Jason, after which she leaves the scene in a chariot of flames pulled by flying snakes.

The present is doubtlessly one of JL’s best productions. It is directed by María Jaunarena with a firm hand. Simplicity and an almost completely monochrome palette are this work’s leading impression, achieving remarkable, eloquent results.

The same can be said about the almost bare sets and very appropriate lights by Gonzalo Córdova and Isabel Gual plus Jaunarena’s costumes. However, something more elaborate would not have been amiss in this respect for Medea, the foreigner.

Hernán Schwarzman is the powerful but sensitive conductor and kudos are due to the excellent chorus led by Hernán Sánchez Arteaga.

The cast, led by the powerful, fearsome and eloquent Sabrina Ci-rera, is strong and bravely overcomes the piece’s vocal hurdles. This is a strong contrast with the lovely, beautifully sung Glauce by Laura Pisani.

Eugenia Fuente adds a memorable Neris to her list of great characters. Nazarth Aufe is good as Jason. The same goes for Alejandro Meerapfel as King Creon and for the smaller roles.

WHERE & WHEN

At Teatro Avenida, Av. de Mayo 1222. Today, Thursday 24 at 8.30pm, and Saturday 26 at 8.30pm.

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