A great conductor at the Opéra Grand Avignon

After creating a sensation in Peter Grimes at the inauguration of the newly renovated Opéra Grand Avignon in autumn 2021, Federico Santi returned a few days ago to conduct Tosca. His performance was enthusiastically received by the public and the press, and here are a few extracts:

"The tension never wavers, and the conductor is able to convey the full range of sensuality and terror, drama and fury. Federico Santi's work is remarkable for its commitment and precision, its subtlety and colour. And we find ourselves discovering the counterpoint of the bass clarinet and contrabassoon during Scarpia's monologue, or other details that are in no way artificial but reveal a fascinating reading of the score. From the sweetness of the love duets between Tosca and Mario to the outburst of the Te Deum, from the terrifying torture scene to the Scarpia-Tosca confrontation, Federico Santi is first and foremost to thank for a fine Puccini evening. The chorus are perfect in their ensemble and musicality". (Première Loge, 08.04.24, link)

"In the pit, Italian conductor Federico Santi is a wonderful discovery. Nervous, full of contrasts, lyrical without ever being syrupy, well articulated, his conducting is marvellous. The Orchestre National Avignon-Provence, the Chorus and the Maîtrise de l'Opéra Grand Avignon are united in giving their very best. The richness of the writing and the sumptuous orchestration of the score are enhanced by the reading that is given: poetry, tenderness, but also liveliness, heightened tensions, masterfully conducted progressions, it's all there. And it's only natural that the Provençal audience, with its rare enthusiasm, should give a long standing ovation to all those involved in this undeniable success!" (Classique News, 10.04.24, link)

"The success of the show rests particularly on the musical and stage execution of the performers, under the baton of Federico Santi. During the first act, the slowness of the tempi is surprising at first, but we gradually appreciate the solidity of the musical discourse, making every aspect of the drama perceptible. The opening exchanges between Cavaradossi and Tosca, for example, breathe with every phrase and gesture. In the slightest gaps, the vocal and orchestral language finds its natural extension in the body language of the two performers. This is the most delicate and successful aspect of the production. (L'avant-scène Opéra, 07.04.24, link)

"Under the expert baton of Federico Santi, the Avignon-Provence orchestra gave a masterly performance of the score, highlighting Puccini's innate sense of drama". (Libre Théâtre, 07.04.24, link)