Liège’s “Capuleti & Montecchi”: Bonus Material 2 – Polverelli Interview

Laura Polverelli was unfortunately not allowed to show off her forearms under rolled up sleeves on stage, being forced to battle against a costume in Raphaelite red that may look great when you are a someone on a Raphaelite painting who gets great Raphaelite light and doesn’t have to move, and only then. But that didn’t really matter…

Polverelli held up nicely and left an all-the-better vocal impression instead: essentially a bel canto mezzo with nice agility in the whole upper middle register, grazing the light-and-clear of a lyric at times. Forceful top notes where the only thing that didn’t completely win me over, but the whole lower middle and blending into chest register definitely makes this one a keeper. Light vibrato in the lower half, but definitely au par with a slightly more dramatic tinge (she said she just did Adalgisa, so there), but just a tinge, blending warmth, a little fuller texture and very smooth transitions into a still even sound.

In the interview, she says that she comes from Baroque and Mozart, seeing Bellini more as the other end of what she can do, and I’d really like to hear in some more Mozart and perhaps some Handel to get a better impression of her voice outside of belcanto reins. Romeo is a good fit for her, however, and particularly the final scene was very, very good – more differentiated emotional portrayal than all swagger, all the time.

The White Shirt crowd has agreed that Polverelli could use some extra training in sword-wielding and butch swagger, but the fact that most of us would gladly be giving those classes gives away that most of us really enjoyed this somewhat-on-the-femme side Romeo. Also, it goes well with the whole “androgynous/Renaissance painting/Sensitive Youth Hair” use theme that was dominating the Romeo staging.

Now, if someone could find me another Idomeneo staging that has her as Idamante…

Meanwhile, back to the interview: here’s Polverelli on Bellini and the androgynous nature of Romeo, and reacting in a classy way to the refusing-to-die-down-question of “so, how’s it like to play a dude?” (much like the refusing-to-die question to actresses having to kiss women on film for whatever reasons – “so, how’s it like to kiss a girl?”) – although the question that really takes the cake is the one about her “relationship with your colleague, Mrs. Ciofi”. I did not make that one up. Neither did I photoshop that still in there. Really, I like lesbian allusions as much as the next of us, but… *sigh* Playing a guy, or playing gay, is simply a part of your work if you’re a singer or an actress. – After all, we don’t ask Asian or Caucasian tenors about what it feels like to play Otello, either.

Up next: Assorted White Shirt Eye Candy, both onstage and offstage.

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