ENTERTAINMENT

[Herald review] Mozart disappoints in ‘Amadeus’

By KH디지털2
  • Published : Mar 28, 2016 - 17:41
  • Updated : Mar 28, 2016 - 17:41
The one and only Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, portrayed as a bleached blonde, sequin-wearing ladies’ man who just happens to be a musical genius -- what more could one ask for? 

Combining the classical hits of Mozart and forging them with modern day rock beats, the smash-hit French musical “Amadeus: Mozart, L’ Opera Rock,” has finally made its way to Seoul and begs the question, what kind of music would the composer have churned out if he were on an acid trip?

Musical actor Mikelangelo Loconte takes on the lead role of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the original French-language production of “Amadeus” running at the Sejong Center in Seoul until April 24. (Yonhap)

The production has brought to Korea its original French cast for the first time, including Italy-native Mikelangelo Loconte, who is one of the production’s original cast members from its 2009 premiere.

Despite the highly anticipated show by the musical’s original cast -- charging theater patrons upwards of 160,000 won ($137) for seats -- Loconte’s performance as Mozart on March 23 at the Sejong Center was a lackluster disappointment, to say the least.

Although the coveted role was his claim to stardom seven years ago, with his recording of the musical’s single “Tatoue-moi“ topping the charts in France, time has clearly not been his friend.

The 42-year-old was a fish out of water, running out of breath and lacking the gravitas and highly demanding vocal chops to fully harness the upper registers of the musical‘s rock opera scores.

On top of that, Loconte’s awkwardly fragmented prancing about on the stage in an attempt at choreography lent a most unconvincing portrayal of the suave, charismatic playboy that also happens to be one of the classical music world’s greatest minds.

Musical actor Mikelangelo Loconte takes on the lead role of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the original French-language production of “Amadeus” running at the Sejong Center in Seoul until April 24. (Yonhap)

Loconte only appeared to be hitting his stride during the first act’s final piece “Je Dors Sur Des Roses,” where the singer grabbed the bull by the horns and gave a superb angry rocker performance, belting out high octave notes with poise and confidence. Ending the first half of the musical with a ray of light, the anticipation quickly died out in the second half as the performer was unable to maintain the vocal fortitude.

While Loconte is by no means untalented, performing alongside his supporting cast of Laurent Ban, Rafaelle Cohen and Odile Heimburger merely highlighted his flaws, as the three musical actors’ vocal performances throughout the night were simply incomparable.

Cohen, playing the role of prima donna Aloysia Weber, was nothing short of phenomenal belting out her operatic solo “Bim Bam Boom” at the beginning of the show, adding to the night’s high expectations for some stellar vocal performances -- expectations that were unfortunately hit-and-miss throughout with Loconte. 

On top of Loconte’s disappointing performance, the musical recently came under fire when it was reported that actor Ban had used a racist remark during a production party with his fellow castmates and production crew members. The actor apparently used the term “Ching, Chang, Chong” during a toast, offending a number of his local colleagues. Ban, along with Mast Entertainment, later issued an official apology for his remark.

“Amadeus: Mozart, L’ Opera Rock” is being staged daily, except Mondays, at the Sejong Center until April 24. Ticket prices range from 60,000 won to 160,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-6236.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)