Standing ovation for Mérida soprano at Prague opera festival

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Yucatecan light lyric soprano Andrea Priscila Gutiérrez was the only Mexican performer among 100 musicians and singers of 50 nationalities at the 2023 Prague summer opera festival. Photo: Courtesy

The final performance of the opera “Don Giovanni” at the State Theater in Prague, during the Prague Summer Nights festival, earned a standing ovation from the full house after Yucatecan light lyric soprano Andrea Priscila Gutiérrez performed a well-received interpretation of the character “Donna Anna.”

Gutiérrez was the only Mexican among a group of 100 musicians and singers representing 50 nationalities under the baton of John Nardolillo.

It was in this very setting that in 1787, Mozart premiered his humorous drama (opera buffa) with a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte and based on the novel by Tirso de Molina, “The Barber of Seville,” commissioned after the resounding success of “The Marriage of Figaro.”

The role of Donna Anna is a challenging vehicle meant only an operatic talent of high caliber. After the overture, which Mozart hurriedly finished one day before the premiere, the opera begins with Leporello, Don Giovanni’s servant, complaining about his life: working day and night covering up for his employer, watching while he tries to seduce and abuse the female protagonist.

Donna Anna appears to rescue her father, the Commander, who was challenging Don Giovanni to a duel. Don Giovanni then kills the Commander and escapes. Returning with her fiancé Don Ottavio, he is horrified to see her father dead and makes her fiancé swear revenge for her death. (Duet: “Ah, vendicar, se il puoi, giura quel sangue ognor! – Ah, swear to avenge this blood!”).

In another of the opera scenes, Donna Anna and Don Ottavio meet Don Giovanni and ask him for help in avenging the death of the Commander, but when Don Giovanni says goodbye, Donna Anna is horrified when, through his voice, she discovers in him the murderer of his father.

He tells Don Ottavio the details of that tragic night and now that he knows the identity of the murderer, he demands that he fulfill his promise to avenge his father’s death (Anna’s Aria: “Or sai chi l’onore – He is the one who tried to rob me of my honor”).

In the second act, she highlighted the interpretation of the famous and long-awaited aria “Non mi dir,” which stands out for its long-linked phrases and a coloratura that is technically difficult to interpret.

“The moments that I lived participating in this staging of Don Giovanni were pleasant, days and hours of hard work where I had the opportunity to meet and live with great teachers and musical talents from all over the world, as well as to perfect my vocal technique in Special classes with Soprano Catherine Clarke Nardolillo and the guidance of Dr. Jelena Nosková, Principal Vocal Coach of the Czech Republic National Opera, whom I particularly thank for believing in my talent and for such an excellent chair of operatic singing,” said Gutiérrez. “This career and this dream that we singers pursue of being on stage and being able to sing a complete operatic role is only possible with a lot of dedication and effort and, of course, with the support of people who have believed in my talent and have encouraged me financially to bear the expenses involved in going out to auditions and in search of knowledge to continue preparing myself in this art,” concluded the artist.

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