The Jewish Chronicle Online, January 29 2015
By Jessica Duchen
Giordano: Andrea Chenier, London, Royal Opera House, 20. Januar 2015
Opera: Andrea Chénier
A flawed voice of freedom
Nobody at Covent Garden could have guessed that shortly before Andrea Chénier's opening, vast protests for freedom of speech would occur in Paris. In Giordano's French Revolution blockbuster the eponymous poet is condemned to death for using his pen as "a weapon against hypocrisy". Among the opera's weaknesses, though, is that we never learn what he said.

It may be a flawed work, its action overspread and overstuffed, but musically it offers occasional glorious moments; and David McVicar's staging, with designs by Robert Jones and Jenny Tiramani, is as sumptuously in period as a Merchant Ivory film.

Željco Lucic convinces as Gérard – a sort of anti-villain, the opera's most nuanced figure; Eva-Maria Westbroek is an all-giving, heartfelt Maddalena. But as her lover, Chénier, tenor Jonas Kaufmann is on peak form, simply unsurpassable for the finesse and golden-treacle beauty of his voice and his supremely intelligent stagecraft. In the pit conductor Antonio Pappano lights the blue touch paper for a fiery night of extremes. You'll love it or hate it, and I loved it.

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