Dallapiccola and Puccini at the Teatro Real (The Wall Street Journal)
MADRID—A tantalizing double-bill at the Teatro Real, pairing Luigi Dallapiccola’s “Il Prigioniero” with Puccini’s “Suor Angelica,” is a diptych portrait of resistance.
A nameless prisoner of the Inquisition in 16th-century Spain reels when his torturer calls him “brother,” thus dangling the hope of human connection in a world shorn of fellow feeling. “To hear a human voice at last in this place where all is silence,” the prisoner wails, in a chromatic stammer streaked with lyricism . . .
Suor Angelica is in a prison of her own, stuck in a convent after having a child out of wedlock. Played by dazzling soprano Veronika Dzhioeva, she is sustained by the brewing hope that her child is alive and well. Her reproachful aunt, sung with piercing reserve by Deborah Polaski, ultimately informs her otherwise. Suor Angelica’s ensuing “Senza Mama” aria is a tortured lament. But its whirling melodic anguish suggests a triumph of feeling over soul-deadening pain.